Foreign Policy Mistakes Obama Must Avoid


What's the biggest mistake Barack Obama could make in his first six months in foreign policy?

Posted by David Ignatius on January 22, 2009 10:07 AM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (80)

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

Hi Daniel,

This is not personal. I could agree with you on some of your previous thoughts but not this one. Next week you may find me among your friends again. Bob’s advice is a good one so I take it.

blund Author Profile Page :

Shiveh & Zolko,

Please, just let this go with Daniel. As offensive as it is we're all probably better off just dropping this line of discussion and moving on.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

To Shiveh from Daniel. I was disturbed you just dismissed me as a racist and sexist. I remember you used to be my good friend when I was criticizing Israel. Now that I say Jews are worth more than Muslims--and that I suspect is my most offensive statement to you--you summarily dismiss me as a racist.

But Shiveh, that Jews are worth more than Muslims is not just my view. Virtually every modern democracy agrees with such. And the reason why Shiveh is that everyone in life has a price on his head in the economic sense--and the economic sense always trumps the moral or sentimental sense that all people are equal.

In other words, Tom Cruise makes twenty million a picture last I heard. I make ten dollars an hour working the night shift as a security guard. It might be all the reading and writing I do at home and at work might result in me being worth more in the future, but for now I am worth ten dollars an hour.

What I mean should start becoming clear now. Jews so often go on to higher education and become successful in so many fields of life. Man for man they are economically more valuable than Muslims--and it could be they are more valuable man for man than white people (for Jews disproportionately win Nobel prizes).

That is all I meant Shiveh--I hope I am not considered a racist by you now,

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

To Blund from Daniel. I was puzzled by your statement that if the Jews are not an ethnic group it cannot be genetics as the foundation of their success. I take the Jews to be people, and people have genes, therefore it matters little what the Jews are, they can have a genetic basis for their success.

But I will entertain your notion that the Jews success is by a "culture which has nothing to do with genetics". If that is true Blund, then an amazing scientific discovery has been made: theoretically then any people should be able to convert to Judaism--imitate the Jews--and start winning Nobel prizes as them. In fact Sweden might want to convert to Judaism to win more of the Nobels which are handed out in their very country.

Furthermore, Muslims might want to stop besieging Israel and instead convert to Judaism to increase their Nobel prize ratio. And certainly American parents as obsessed as they are with their children's education might want them to be Jews so they have an edge in life.

But of course none of these things will occur--because one cannot just imitate the Jews and be as successful as them. Their success is based on genetics regardless of whether they are related to dogs, rats, bats or monkeys.

blund Author Profile Page :

No, we can let this one go. When it started I thought you were just another bigot. At least I don't believe that is the case any longer.

Zolko Author Profile Page :

Daniel: "All I stated is that Jews disproportionately win nobel prizes and score high on I.Q. tests and that it must be genetic."

Yet, the Jewish culture hasn't left ANYTHING to humanity. Christians have bult cathedrals, Egyptians the pyramids and the Sphinx, Muslims the Alhambra, Incas the pyramids in central america, the Romans the colliseum and the Via Appia, Chinese the Great Wall, but the Jews: NOTHING. Nothing that remained. The Jewish culture is only interrested in material and immediate goods, and there they do well. But they're NOT interrested in spirituality and thus have NEVER EVER built anything that lasted. We have traces of ancient pottery and sculptures from everywhere, but not from Jewish culture: how do you explain that if not by saying there were never any produced ? There is now a jewish country, and what do they use it for ? To destroy and kill their neighbors, grab even more land, and build a wall separating them.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

To Blund and Shiveh: Postglobal is not allowing me to respond to your last posts. The site keeps saying the blog owner will look over my piece--or it says too many comments have been submitted. So I guess you guys get the last word. But we can discuss this in the future if you like. Or not if you do not want to.

albayrak1905 Author Profile Page :

considering that the usa has been facing unimaginative downturn. The first and utmost priority of obama should be economic crisis. ıf the is distracted other isssues. it might be really tough to get the things back on track earlier than it is expected. this economic turmoil should be gone through in a short period of time. otherwise obama might lose the confidense and popularity in the view of the public. there are considerable amount of people who are ready to escalate the tension of the public aganist abama. that is why obama must focus on what is required right now. the usa has not time to waste. ıf the econmic downturn can dealt with earlier than it is expected. Obama will have strong and substantial image in the view of the public. on the other hand obama has to work passionately in terms of turning things around. otherwise he might lose the election which is gonna be held after four years.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

Tom,

You did not participate in this discussion so let me refresh your memory with some of Daniel’s comments.

"... man for man the jews are more valuable"

"As for India lagging so far behind, they are really the only people I would say culture is affecting their I.Q.--"

"The true genocide and in fact threat to the whole intellectual future of man is the muslim hordes trying to overcome one of the most intelligent peoples in the world: the Jews."

"I go by I.Q. tests and great skepticism of the concept known as education"

"I really do not believe in education. I believe in genetics."

"... the biggest error is to think that by education we can bring the lesser powers to parity with the great"

"Things like intelligence, drive, ethics are genetic"

"... stating the obvious: that women are not as good in math as men"

"You have blacks and Hispanics constantly coming in last in education in America, but of course the only reason why is because they have just not had the same educational opportunities, and the solution is more and more education. It seems America has been so driven by need to integrate the country that education has become almighty and is supposed to bridge even the widest racial differences"

"To say it again, and to be really clear, races and ethnic groups differ not only as to culture but as to genetic foundation"

"I know your viewpoints friends. You do not know mine. You are not allowed to even think of mine. Do you want to know how much harm American sociology has done? Listen to this: I read in I believe scientific American this gem: that there is more genetic difference between a white man such as myself and the white man farthest from me genetically than there is difference between me and ANY other person of a different race. Have you ever heard of anything so absurd?"

"Have you noticed that when you go into a bookstore that african american books are located in--yes you guessed it--the african american section? Why should they be placed there if there is no difference between whites and blacks?"


I consider these comments both racist and sexist and do not mind calling them as such. I wasn’t particularly interested in dragging this discussion either because although we have had some good discussions before, I do not think this is one of them.

Subject of race (genetic) superiority has come up before and as I remember last time it cost us over 50 million dead and a continent in ruins to settle it. So do not blame me if I’m not keen in continuing it. You called yourself gutless and Daniel fearless; but I think Daniel is reckless, and you are being irresponsible for applauding him.

Daniel,

I know of some white people that are really stupid and some black folks that are among the smartest I’ve seen. How does this fit with your assumptions? Do all white men are superior because intelligence gene is common in them? Or only some white men have the gene therefore are superior? Can other races also have this gene in some of their people? Is it all relative or exclusive? And without first identifying a single gene or a combination of genes responsible for intelligence, is it academically acceptable to make such claims? (Is it scientific, Tom?)

When Darwin talks about evolution, he is looking at hundreds of thousands of years if not millions of years and jumps like the one that separated us from our monkey ancestries. Only a few thousand years ago some of the white Germans, the Aryan race, migrated to the south and established the Indo-European settlements that include countries from Iran to India. In other words, Afghans have the same gene pool as Germans do. Why is it that their culture (if it derives from genes) and economy is so different? Why Afghans do not win any scientific recognition?

Daniel, you have chosen a narrow view of many subjects including history, culture, race relations and education. If you are being opposed it is because of your views, it is not personal. So do not call me a fool because that would make it personal.

blund Author Profile Page :

Daniel,

First, I only used the Jewish people in my analysis since your brought them up. What I have tried to point out to you is modern day Judism is a culture. It is not an ethnic group. If it is not an ethnic group genes can play no part in their considerable achievements. These achievements must be cultural. Honestly, my hat is off to the Jewish Communities of the world for what they have been able to accomplish and the influence they have acquired with a membership of only 14 million. To put it in perspective there are around 2.1 billion Christians and about 1.5 billion Muslims today. 14 million people of the jewish faith is a very small percentage of the worlds population and people of this have excelled in business, politics, medicine, research and education. However, if you want to take a look at the Humanist Society you can make the exact same claim about their membership.

You keep repeating over and over since Jews score higher on IQ tests and win Nobel prizes more frequently it must be because of their genes. You may be partially correct over this issue since assuming Jews do score higher on IQ tests it can only mean (since they really aren't an ethnic group) they prefer to marry smart people thus giving their offspring a higher probability of above average intelligence. If this is your argument and you consider it as something good should we then try to influence people in our society to emulate this behavior?

As for the definitions of society and culture don't blame me. They weren't my original thoughts. They came from Princeton University. They just seemed applicable to this discussion.

Tom is right about this discussion. It is rare outside of academia to engage in this discussion. Sociologists who have argued in the past a groups gene pool determines their intelligence and their contributions to civilization are often fond of using Africa as their example. Africans just aren't as smart as white people and that explains why basically the entire continent is 3rd world today. To some degree the same has been said about most the ME (Israel is excluded). Unfortunately, this line of thinking lead to Hitler and his concept of the master Aryan race. That's what makes this topic almost taboo to discuss. I have no doubt from my posts a number of people now think I'm an Anti-Semite when in fact I'm anything but. My only point of contention with the Jewish Faith is their illogical need to trace their roots back 2,500-4,000 years and use what so far has been fuzzy science at best to support these claims. I think this is just plain silly. To argue anything close to racial purity (closely related gene pool) today I think you would need to be an Aboriginie.

I'm still not sure where your reverance for white people comes from. As I have previously disclosed I'm basically of Swedish ancestry so it's pretty fair to assume I'm white, but I don't look at the white race as being superior. I could understand this line of thinking if members of the white race developed advanced civilizations ahead of all the other races and waited around for thousands of years for the other races to give up hunting and gathering and start forming societies, but they didn't. Quite the contrary. The white race actually got into the civilization game very late compared to the Asians, Southern European, Northern Africans, Central and South Americans. It took us a lot longer to develop civilized societies. The first king of England (who only ruled pieces of the territory) didn't start until 871AD. It wasn't until William the Conquerer prevailed at the Battle of Hastings in 1066AD England became a unified country. France wasn't that much earlier. No, the white races of middle and northern europe didn't really start coming into their own until 700-800AD. Hence, as a Swede I can be proud of how far we've come, but at the same time I can't pat my forefathers on the back for taking almost 4,000 years longer to do this then other ethnic groups did.

Anyway, since you reject my line of reasoning out of hand there is little benefit in continuing this line of discussion. I'm not going to change your mind and you're not going to change mine. Let's go back to Bush bashing. It's alot more fun! (Our resident conservative who I won't name, but his initials are Tom can go back to bashing Dems)

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

Ok Blund, I see things more clearly now. The only thing I can conclude is that you think I must be a jew touting my purity of genetic material and that it is so superior--or you think of me being some sort of white supremacist boasting of my bloodline.

You are wrong. All I stated is that Jews disproportionately win nobel prizes and score high on I.Q. tests and that it must be genetic. It does not matter if jews today are nothing related to ancient tribes of jews. It matters little what they are. They call themselves jews and they succeed wildly wherever they go--and it is not because they read the old testament or bang their heads against walls in jerusalem.

The plain fact of the matter is they just go on to higher education disproportionately and win nobel prizes--and you can if you want sniff their butts trying to figure out a cultural source and you will be just as distant from a nobel prize as ever. There is just nothing for anyone to imitate about jews to somehow succeed as them. They succeed because of some fortunate genetic legacy whether that comes from ancient tribes or not.

In fact they are also more susceptible to Tay-sachs disease--and it has been demonstrated if one only gets one of the genes from tay-sachs it will confer defense against tuberculosis--just like africans who get only one sickle cell are more resistent to malaria. A genetic basis, if I have to make it clear...And it does not matter if they are as they are because they are actual dogs, they succeed better than most people in many fields--from art to science.

Your big mistake is you think I am trying to prove some racial purity or something. You cannot imagine someone bringing up the discussion we are having without thinking he must be a nazi or something. That is how brainwashed you are about what is one of the most pernicious ideas today: that all people are the same--and the sexes too--and there really is no difference between people

Basic biology is against you. A species has variants as its individuals, and these variants will become more pronounced if say, part of the species ends up on one island and the other part on another. Well the same for humans. We have distinct races--made over thousands of years, and it flies in the face of logic to say all people are the same according to ridiculous modern sociology.

Whether caucasians are pure or not, whether jews are pure or not, whether northern asians are pure or not--the fact is they succeed better than other peoples. And you can try to blabber all you want about culture somehow being not related to genetics and a thousand geniuses will refute you by the simple fact that they are what they are and you for all your attempts to imitate them, all your attempts to try to find out what it is about them which can be taught in school, will fail--because it is genetics.

Now about your notion that all civilizations fail and caucasians will one day fail as civilization--some faith you have in yourself. And you overlook the colossal fact that civilizations are more and more reinforcing one another beating the odds of civilizations collapsing ever again. And it is caucasians and jews and asians who are taking the lead--and the advanced cultures like the lesser are based on genetics.

All your mystifying, all your obfuscating, all your ridiculous attempts to give me definitions from a dictionary about what culture is cannot beat the fact of genetics at the base. Try establishing for once how exactly a culture is--if you have the guts.

But you know what I mean. You proved it by trying to say culture is made up of whatever mixed ethnicity. You say essentially that culture is genetically based--provided it comes out of mixed ethnicity. What a sly trick. Does this mean culture is lesser if it does not come about by mixed ethnicity? That sure seems to me what you are saying.

And Shiveh is no different than you in his reasoning. But he is even clearer. He accuses me of falling into "the prejudice trap"--as if someone must be a piece of sh*t to reason as I am reasoning. What intellectual cowards you all are. You disgust me. And what fools you are--as if things will go away if you just keep denying it.

You would be better employed in urging all peoples to interbreed as rapidly as possible before true racists come to the fore. What a pity for the world. Either people must reason as you guys do or one must be a racist. A total world failure. But it is understandable. It means pain that some peoples succeed better than others and that they cannot teach others to be as themselves because their ascension has been by fortunate genetics--whether they are related to dogs, parrots or whatever.

Oh, I forgot to address the notion that past civilizations have been great then they fell etc. so--or rather I did address this notion, but to make it clearer: modern democracies are a quantum jump on all those past authoritarian civilizations. Aztecs? Mayans? Egyptians? What barbarism! Authoritarian to the core. It has been western civilization that has led to a totally new world--one of the possibility of spreading democracy, one of interlinked economies, and so much more to create a synergy between peoples so if there is collapse it must be world civilization collapsing--not just one civilization collapsing. Western civilization has taken the lead on this project to say it again--and thank God for the Asians assuring civilization from their end. By contrast, the muslim world...hell the equator and south...are virtually anti the linking up of civilizations to assure no civilization collapses ever again. They do not even have the imagination for it. Hell mr. blund and shiveh have no imagination for it!

What a sad day for all of us.

Oh God! Wait a minute! I have to relate this gem by Blund: "culture is a particular society at a particular place and time". And here is Blund's definition of a society: An extended social group having a distinctive cultural and economic organization".

Blund defines a culture by saying it is a society and defines a society by saying it is a culture. Tell me people and be honest, does that make any sense at all? No of course not. It is a piece of circular reasoning which explains nothing. I on the other hand consistently base a culture on the most actual thing possible in human existence: our genetic possibility.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

To Blund from Daniel. Let me get one thing straight. You keep bringing up all this nonsense about jews and bloodlines etc. I never mentioned anything about bloodlines. I could care less if the jews are more related to dogs than humans. The fact is they disproportionately win nobel prizes and for you to raise balderdash about that being culture is, well, balderdash. As if their having bat mitzvahs has something to do with their winning nobel prizes. wake the hell up. Its obviously genetic. They score high on I.Q. tests as well.

As for your absurdity about somehow saying a culture has nothing do with genetics, that too is patently absurd. Take modern culture. Have you heard of henry ford, edison, etc. etc. A culture comes about because of the highest types of humans. That is genetic. How difficult is that to see?

But it seems you have some sort of other agenda. You keep bringing up all this nonsense about racial purity, bloodlines, etc. as if I am some sort of nazi trying to separate this race from that and war on people.

Really...I will post more in a bit...I have to go now.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

To all (Bob, Salamon, Daniel, Shiveh)

Good discussion. We all know each other fairly well - politically. We’ve been discussing issues for the past two years or so. This goes to show what I’ve always said in the past - charges of racism, xenophobia and bigotry (etc.) are meant to end a discussion, so my hats off to Bob for providing a good discussion (with some good ideas) on a very controversial topic. It would be easy and understandable to avoid this topic altogether.

Daniel looks at the world through science, and although Daniel chose a topic that most of us take great pains to avoid, the best way to challenge an idea is head on.

So keep up the good work everyone. To those of us who have been around this site for awhile, it’s a high point. Good job to Daniel also for being fearless.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

Daniel:

To have high level of culture [or politcs] a society needs surplus funds over that needed for sustinence.

The history of the white races [Europe and her colonies with predominantly white emigrants] has seen a number of high cultures come and go, usually due to economic collapse. Often the economic collapse was caused by unsustainable war mongering and an unwillingness of the citizens to wage war, thus depending on mercaranies/slaves
[Rome and Greece] another reason for collapse was the debasement of their currencies, abuse of farm land etc

Similar events befell China a number of times [varying in length of the Empires] sometimes 300 -500 years at a time. Over extension of the Golden Horde caused the collapse of the Mongol Empire.

Compare the lessons of history to USA at present:
1.,bankrupt for all intents and purposes
2., depends on approx 150 000 mercenaries in Iraq, and proxie war by hired hands in Somalia.
3., tried to extend control on large part of the globe [approx 1000 military outposts, in far too many countries, with far too large costs]
4., Attempting to pursue 3 wars [four if we count Israel as a symboite in Gaza] Iraq, Afganistan and Somalia without ability to pay for them [operates on future generation's possible, though not certain income stream].
5., did not learn that abuse of agricultural land is contra to long term cultural life - Mesopotamia, North africa, etc. Industrial agriculture depends on abuse of land and chemicals. In this abuse of natural resource, the USA is comletely unprepared for the collapse of oil/gas based energy, affecting pesticide, herbacide, clothing, industrial goods etc manufacture and availabilityy.

Taking the above into consideration one would have to conclude that the political economic leadership of the USA [and some other countries] is far from intelligent, indeed, working at the destruction of their own society/culture, just as the Zionist Government is acting to Israel's long time survivibillity.

So quit the nonsens on intelligence, for that particular human attribute is only helpful if it is applied intelligently - which seems to ahve been missed in the Last 8 years in politics, in economics and in science [only serve a small proportion of citizens, wall street fiasco, and creationism, suppression of unpleasant natural science knowledge.

Good luck

blund Author Profile Page :

Shiveh,

Thank you, I took your advice when you said I gave up too easy.

Yes, I have read articles over the attempt at linking modern day Jews to the 12 tribes. I believe one of the families that was used was the Cohen family that can trace it's roots back to around the middle ages.

Personally, I could care less one way or the other. It doesn't matter to me whether modern day people of Jewish Faith feel a need to attempt what currently doesn't seem provable one way or the other. The religion (Judism) existed in what we consider ancient times and still exists today. That religion fundamentally believes they are God's chosen people and God gave them the land they occupy today. God didn't give it the Christians or the Muslims since it would be a couple thousand years before their religions came into being. However, it appears this topic is important to the Jewish Community. I'm guessing it's for legitimizing something, but I don't know for sure.

The odds of keeping any blood line pure for 4,000 years would, as I stated, require a vaccum to live in. Since we are all aware not only did they not live in a vaccum they were over run and enslaved on a number of occasions throughout history the probability women weren't forced to engage in sex with non-Hebrews is zero. That children weren't born out of these unfortunate circumstances is zero. As I noted marriage outside the faith and conversions also diluted the blood line.

Most of us have watched the DiVinci Code or read the book. Without getting into the implications of Christ having sex and producing a child what were the odds of a direct blood line back a mere 2,000 years? You first have to assume for this being able to happen there was no interruption in this blood line through any natural act (plagues, infertility, disease and the like) and man made acts like wars or accidents. That's a big if to start with. However, let's say nothing like that ever happened to a family line for 2,000 years. That's a minimum of 100 generations. Each generation dilutes the blood line by 50%. Obviously, a child of Christ would carry 50% of his blood line. That child's child would carry 25% and it's cut in half each generation. By the 10th generation only .09% of a person's blood line comes from the original person we started with. By the 20th generation a direct descendant would only have .00009375% of the original blood line. I'm not going to run these numbers out to 100 generations, but suffice it to say it's a whole bunch of zeros and the percentage of the original blood line is so small it almost becomes ludicrous.

I don't know for sure, but I have not heard of any DNA being extracted from anyone in the original 12 tribes and then matched to a cross section of Jews today. If you know of such a study I would love to hear about it. Such a baseline DNA sample then would allow us to give a probability of genetic heritage. (This person has a 1% probablility of being related to that person or a 1.2 million chance of being related to the baseline person) These are the types of numbers I can deal with in this discussion. I suspect, just based on history and normal human behavior and circumstance, these numbers would be in the 1.2 million range and I'm not convinced several other population groups wouldn't also fit this probability.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

Blund,

Bob, I’m enjoying your recent cool headed posts and quite agree with them. That is why I hate to be a spoiler here but I’ve read many articles regarding the relative purity of the Jewish genome. A fast web search for Jewish genes brings up many published studies. The following is just my first found:

http://www.aish.com/societywork/sciencenature/jewish_genes.asp

It starts with the paragraph below:

"Recently published research in the field of molecular genetics -- the study of DNA sequences -- indicates that Jewish populations of the various Diaspora communities have retained their genetic identity throughout the exile. Despite large geographic distances between the communities and the passage of thousands of years, far removed Jewish communities share a similar genetic profile. This research confirms the common ancestry and common geographical origin of world Jewry.
Jewish men from communities which developed in the Near East -- Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Yemen -- and European Jews have very similar, almost identical genetic profiles.

"Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level. The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora."

(M.F. Hammer, Proc. Nat'l Academy of Science, May 9, 2000"

I tend to agree with you that because people from different nationalities have converted to Judaism and also Jews marrying outside their faith, the Hebrew gene pool must have been changing during last 5000+ years, but then there are all these studies that say something else.

Your overall reasoning is flawless.

Daniel,

We have had predominant cultures throughout history. Every one of them at the height of their influence was ahead of the pack and looked permanent. If you were born an Egyptian at the time of the Pharaohs, or a Roman at the height of their empire or … you would make the same argument for their achievements, their supremacy and their finality that you are making now for the white Europeans.

No one is too cultured, too refined or too innocent to be safe from the prejudice trap. As I cautioned you before, be carful not to fall into this trap. You started this thread of thought by saying that Jews are more valuable than Arabs. This was a wrong path that led you to accept what I jokingly accused you of; that you believe white European male category is genetically superior to all other people. I believe and I hope that in some stage of your development you will see the fallacy of your argument. Till then...!

blund Author Profile Page :

Daniel,

I apologize. I should have defined culture and in doing so also defined society.

Culture is: a particular society at a particular time and place.

A society is: an extended social group having a distinctive cultural and economic organization.

I hope you can see why they need to be defined together. There are also several other definitions of both society and culture, but for the purposes of what we're talking about here these are by far the most applicable.

Neither of these definitions assumes any genetic link between the members of a society and the cultures they form. The US for example has a national culture (highly debatable as to exactly what it is) and various sub cultures. Probably the closest you can come to defining a national culture is the sum of all the sub-cutures in a given national society. Artists are often referred to as a sub-culture in the US. Hippies were a sub-culture. Since the US is ethnically diverse our culture consists of pieces of many other countries, including African, South American, Indian, etc. and pieces of almost all religous groups around the world. Predominately Christain, but by no means exclusively so. Other parts of our culture are uniquely American. Pop culture in the US would be in this category.

Let's move back to Judism. Judism is a religion and I don't thin there is any disagreement on that. The members of the Jewish faith make up a society. That society has certain commonalities within it and differences depending on the sect of Judism one subscribes to. Since members of the Jewish Religion were spread around the world they were also members of different societies. Some were Indian, some were Russian, some were Polish, German, French, African, American, etc., etc. The concept of a national culture lingered for about 2,600 years before the State of Israel was born. At this point people of the Jewish faith and people who claimed they were descended from members of the Jewish faith immigrated into Israel. They came from all the countries and from all the different sects of Judism. Collectively they now make up a society we call Israel along with the people who aren't of Jewish faith that live within the borders. While in many respects they shared elements of common culture through their religous beliefs they were not a homogenus group culturally. They had assimiliated various aspects of the cultures they grew up in before relocating to Israel. As far as I know, and I could be wrong, all the sects believe the area Israel has today was promised to them by God. The major sects and most off the minor ones believe they are the descendants of the 12 tribes and the lost 13th tribe. After that the waters get a little muddy in terms of beliefs. Thinking all Jews sects think alike is like saying all Christians think alike and we know that isn't true. If it were possible to genetically identify members of the Jewish faith who could trace their ancestral lineage back to the original 12/13 tribes I think the vast majority of Jews would be highly disappointed. This statement is just based on the laws of probability. You can't go back 150 generations and assume anyone has anything more then an extremely small (1% or less) blood line. It just defies the laws of statistics. Basically, in order for that to happen a social ethnic group would have to almost live in a vaccum. Also, while the Jewish Faith doesn't seek converts (one reason there are only 14 million) the major sects accept them. Also, while to some degree socially discouraged I don't know of a sect that won't allow marriage to a person not of the Jewish Faith. Unfortunately, here's the biggie. Woman, including Jewish women, haven't been treated well throughout history. For the most part they were consider chattel property. When the Jews were in Egypt as slaves do you really believe the Egyptians didn't have their way with Jewish women? Or when the Assyrians (sp) conquered Palestine? Or when the Babylonians conquered them? Or when the Romans conquered the territory? As they spread throughout parts of India, Europe and North Africa over time mixed marriages took place frequently. Life was extremely hard on the vast majority of people. The average life expectancy of a Roman during the time of Ceasar was somewhere between 26-30. It took 2,000 years for that number to reach 42 in the United States in the year 1900. Basically, you married young. Had children young and hoped to live long enough to see them mature. This is not a recipe for keeping blood lines pure.

Hence, an argument that genetics causes culture doesn't hold water. People of whatever mixed ethniticity create culture. Parts of those cultures can be based on what we would call ancient ideas that originated from something that was close to a homogenus group, but again that's not an argument for the genes creating cultural. That is only an argument that several ancient cultures that may have close to being homogenus existed.

The only possible argument you can make is that all people have genes therefore anything people do is a result of their genetic make up. If you can't see why this argument is fallacous just ask, but it should be apparent why this argument is just an excuse for human behavior.


acpress Author Profile Page :

DAVID IGNATIUS in Davos would not allow Turkish Prime Minister to speak in the panel DISCUSSION he was conducting and allowed Peres to bully the PM- IS THIS TRUE??

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

To Blund from Daniel. Your last post was truly superior--extremely difficult to get a grip on, and so far as I can see, the only possible answer to what I have been posting.

The only aspect I am concerned about in your post is this sticky business of what a culture is. But before we get to that I want to answer your question which was something like "if the Jews are so smart, why did they not have a nation for two thousand years?" You said, I believe jokingly, that it was God. My answer is this: do you know of any other people that have prospered so well without a nation? Is that not the sign of not only intelligence but staying power? And my contention was not that the Jews were originally of very superior intelligence. I clearly stated that I believe such has come about because they have been persecuted for so long and only the more intelligent of them survived to pass on genes.

Now about your truly superior argument--and hats off to you! The problem of what a culture is. I say it largely has a genetic foundation. You say not. But you do not clearly define what it is or how it came about. But what you did do is something truly superior and strange: you succeeded in making it a mystery again in my mind--in fact probably just articulated in superior fashion the mystery of it in everybodies minds.

And it is true we wonder what a culture is and how it came about. I see only genetics but you succeeded in making me wonder again how it exists. Sorry for repeating myself but you have succeeded in stumping me. Let me answer the only way I can. I say the native americans of of course all of america--north, south and central--are lacking in genetic diversity. This has been demonstrated in science magazines by DNA analysis. Relatively few asians made it to the americas--in fact as few as twenty if I recollect correctly from a science magazine I read. The only thing I can say about the cultures of these indians is that they were not so great as you say they were--the spanish smashed them quite easily. In other words they did not travel far in the civilization sense. And they have never recovered.

As for the egyptians, they too did not really travel far in the civilization sense. Notice how greek sculpture although at first influenced by the egyptions just leaped ahead to far less stiff statues and more life in the round. In fact all the civilizations at the equator and the south seem to have been able to reach only a certain limit. Notice India as well--only a certain limit.

Now take the northern civilizations. They leaped ahead dramatically and are still in their trajectory. Even relatively static China has implacably kept moving--and she existed thousands of years ago. My contention is this: we are at the point now to keep civilization from collapsing because the northern powers support one another to an unprecedented extent--a synergistic process--and the only thing that can prevent them from continuing in progression is WMD, misuse of technology in general, a meteor slamming into the earth from space. In other words, the northern civilizations are UNLIMITED civilizations unless they do themselves in or a force of nature to the negative occurs. Every southern or equatorial civilization throughout history has proved itself limited--in fact collapsed, with the possible exception of India.

In other words, my contention is still that genes create culture, and the limited genetic potential of the equatorial and southern peoples has limited their civilizations throughout history. As for the northern peoples being latecomers on the civilization stage, it makes sense that they would be late--because the north was the last frontier to be conquered by wandering man. Furthermore the northern peoples leaped forward vastly beyond any civilizations before and are still going forward--in fact it looks to be the case that the northern powers have solved the problem of civilizations collapsing. There genetics pushed them beyond the threshold of possible collapse. Furthermore advances in biology are said to soon be able to allow us to select for intelligence genetically--in which case we will decisively solve the problem of civilizations collapsing.

So you see, I still can argue as to genes being the foundation of culture. The superiority of my point is that I clearly state the foundation, the source of a culture and back it up with evidence. Your view on the other hand gives no explanation of culture--you instead tried to mystify it as it so often is a mystifying case in peoples minds. I hope that I have been relatively clear--and once again, you did make a superior argument. It really got me to thinking--in fact I will have to write this all out in an essay and be as thorough as possible. Thank you....

Gray62 Author Profile Page :

The biggest mistake would be to put you, Mr. Ignatius, in any official role! You showed that you're totally unable to fulfill the relative simple job of moderating a discussion at Davos, when you let Israeli president Peres rant on for 20 minutes about the Gaza war, and then cut Turkish prime minister Erdogan's answer off after only two minutes. That's scandalous! I can only hope that you won't seek any important role at such high stake events in the future. World peace is too fragile for incompetent hacks to mess it up.

blund Author Profile Page :

Daniel,

This issue has been around long before there were any democrats or republcans and will be around long after democrats and republicans cease to exist.

Yes, I'm sure the Romans viewed the loose group of tribes we term Germanic as barbarians. It wasn't even until the time of Charlemagne (about 800 AD) when several of these tribes were forced into giving up pagan religions and converting (by the sword) to Christianity.

Most of Western and Northern Europe traces it's roots back to these tribes (including Britian, Spain and parts of North Africa).

As far as people of the Jewish Faith and genetics. One test that has been used is a Y Chromosone test in males. About 25% of Jewish males share this gene in common. However, it should be noted that is about the same number as Arabs in the region and people of Italian desecent. The only definition that seems to hold up is a child whose mother was Jewish and a person who converted to Judism. Searching for ones roots in Judism is something like a Christian searching for the holy grail. Considering the 12 or 13 tribes had been split up between 750BC and 586BC tracking lineage is virtually impossible at this point. If I could trace my heritage back to the time of Julius Ceasar I might find out one my ancestors was a Roman Legionaire. The Romans conquered the Gemanic tribes and these same tribes spread out into the Baltics. Personally, I'm not that interested who my relatives were 2,500 years ago. Germanic is a good enough category for me. However, I don't share the tradition the Jewish Faith does and a desire to have originated from one of the original 12 tribes. Many people of the Jewish Faith do. Given the records and the science available today I have to conclude this is wishful thinking at best. Tracing ones roots back 125 to a 150 generations without records is an exercise in futility. Assuming the Jewish people were basically a single ethnticity at the time they were enslaved in Egypt its fair to assume the blood line was diluted there. It is futher logical to assume it in ensuing conquests the Jewish people were expelled from Judea for varying periods of time and basically enslaved. Even the Babylonians conquered them and brought many of them back to Babylon. They basically scattered at the end of King David's reign in around 586BC. Sure some stayed behind and have lived in the land in very low numbers up until the creation of the State of Israel. I will leave you one question to ponder about the Jewish issue. If, as you say, they are so smart why they went 2,500 years without being able to create a State? Please don't answer because it was God's Plan.

Let's move on to another problem with genes create culture theory. Three advanced civilizations come to mind that don't fit your theory. First, the Mayans. Second, the Aztecs. Third, the Egyptians. Let's start with the Egyptians. They had an advanced society while the Greeks were still grunting to communicate. The pharoahs reigns started about 3,000BC. At that time they were the most advanced civilization on the planet. What happened to them? I don't think anyone would argue they are even close to the most advanced or civilization nation in the world today. Yet they were at the top of the food chain for over 2,000 years. Look at the great civilizations created by the Aztecs and Mayans. Once destroyed these same people who built these civilizations have never recovered. If it's in the genes how did any of these great civilizations collapse and never rebuild? Europe, with the exception of Greece and Roman came into the civilization game relatively late in history. It wasn't until the fall of the Roman Empire and a few hundred more years before you see anything resembling civilization in the rest of Europe. It was all pagan and all tribal up until 750 AD. So, am I to believe the genetic makeup of Northern Europeans is superior to Egyptians when it took them 4,000 years longer to become civilized? Am I supposed to believe the Northern Europeans are genetically superior to the Mayans or the Aztecs when they built advanced civilizations a 1,000 years before the Northern Europeans? Well I'm sorry I can't believe this. History doesn't show this the case. What history shows us is different groups at different times will create relatively advanced and powerful civilizations and then fall. From the great Chinese Dynasties to the Monguls to the Egyptians to Alexander the Great to the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Spain, Britian, the Mayans, the Aztecs. They all rose to spectacular heights for their time and they all faded. Their genes didn't change. No, what changed was the circumstances around them. The times changed. Other civilizations wanted what they had and forcibly took it. The Romans conquered the Greeks and became obessed with Greek culture. It was very high class to have Greek Slaves in Rome. The Romans even copied Greek Art. Who did the Greeks revere? They revered the Egyptians. Cultures come about and gain predominance and last for different periods of time and then lose their predominance. That's the history of the world. That's not genetics. That's cultural at a given point in history.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

Daniel:

While I admit that the present education system of USA/Can/UK and others [all similar] are poorly designed and very poorly executed, I do think that your position is indefensible.

For some "progressive" reasons the powers be decided that education in K-12 [under the present curriculum] is for everybody and all should succeed if possible.

Reality is different: approx 4-5 % are trainable, but not educationable for modern society; the next 20 % is educatable to a limit, which does not include High School [except the watered down "basic education" - This segment can still contribute positively to society and its economy as long as we realize the limitations thereto. The next section 50-60% is educatable, some even in academics, though primarily their education is for trades and commerce, dept ed [k-8] - not academic University; which should be started in High School [the German/Swiss/Japanese etc model]. That at present time to keep the youth off the job market, we encourage them to go to college where many of the "career preparations" are essentially what should be in High School with possibly one year of concentration on the field of interest.

Approximately 15 % or less is capable of rigorous university education, who need International Baccalaurate or a beefed up Advance Placement high school curricula, with beefed up 7-8 grade curriculum, a type which demands daily homework of challanging content, great persevarance and above median IQ [seeing that you are a great proponent of this measure].
As the present system does not follow the above outline, the system now has a great misallocation of funds, both public and private. The system is also adjudgable to be a fiasco, wherein 25+% of students come ut with no perceptible qualification, no perceptible discipline to contribute to the well being of the nation [the effect of "do your thing" philosophy so prevalent in modern UK/USA/Canada etc systems].

As long as education is ruled by SCHOOL BOARDS, elecable by "taxpayers" - most of whom do not hafe children in K-12, there is no hope of change - for these childless taxpayers are interested in their own life, and can not see WASTING MONEY and EFFORT to raisae the output of the system. Aside from the above as the rise of CREATIONISM, and other scientifically undefensible isms/ologies [Astrology, public myths, etc] clearly indicate, some of these taxpayers do not even have sufficient knowledge to influense K-12 curricula to the demands of the XXI-st Century , notwithstanding that, they do.

While Mr. Obama has talked of change in education, there is too much built in bureaucracy, interest groups protecting their turfs, and too much "progressive notions about equal outcomes [NOTE NOT EQUAL OPPORTUNITY for students to take curricula appropriate to their interest and persevarence] to bring forth any meanig ful change

[Just review all the major deucation related Court decidions including Brown v. Topeka, there never is any notions regarding student interest and curriculum avalability, but yapping on funding, yapping on governance, yeapping on racial issues].

While this issue is of prime importance to the Nation, the public lethargy will keep it in its present failing state.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

To Blund from Daniel. I read your piece and I have some problems with it.

1) You say the northern peoples were once barbarians. Either they really were, in which case the jump they made to the point of going to the moon is the biggest jump in civilization in world history, or they were not as barbaric as has been let on and therefore they progessed to the present day more slowly and in line with the style of other civilizations. Which is it? Either way we have a fitness as to genes.

2) I really hate it when people talk about culture as if it is something apart from genetics. If culture is apart from genetics, where did it come from? Do you see what I mean? As for the Jews not being much related to their original tribes, that is beside the point. The point is they are wildlessly successful. Why? You say culture--and you say the same about Asians work ethics. Culture apart from genes that can be learned? Then why is it nobody imitates the jews and asians--especially the jews and win nobel prizes as the jews? do you see what I mean? I think the jews, regardless of how much they are related to original jewish tribes are genetically superior as to intelligence, and the reason why is because of having been persecuted for centuries and only the most intelligent surviving. As for the jews being only about 1% related to ancestors, it sure is strange then why they should be persecuted and hated to the present day. Are you sure about that number?

3) Last the proposition still holds that the northern peoples by and large are more sophisticated as to culture and their citizens are more capable of making it anywhere. The southern cultures are less sophisticated--less capable of modernizing--and their citizens have difficulty making it elsewhere. The only real exception to the rule of northerners being more successful is the native americans--but it has been pointed out that relatively few of them made it into america by the Bering strait or by boat hugging the shores. Therefore they are less diverse genetically and therefore less sophisticated as to culture. So the point holds...Now why is it the northern cultures are more sophisticated? How can it be anything other than genes? If not genes, then what? How culture separate from genes? Where did culture come from if not out of the eruption of genetic possibility?

The fatal error made by sociology today is to view that all people are equal genetically and that they differ only as to culture--and that culture can be put on and taken off at will and given here and taken there. This flies in the face of genetics because it begs the question how culture arose if not connected to genetics. And this sociological error is directly responsible for the attempts to democratize the world whether by force or by other means. Both republicans and democrats in the U.S. are implicated....

angeltorwali Author Profile Page :

The problems Pakistan faces are manifold. Many are its own created. But there are things which owe their roots to the betrayal of its allies. In the post Cold war era Pakistan's ally did not pay heed to its problems. They used it like a tissue paper during the war with Russia in Afghanistan but what followed is a betrayal. The jihadists then trained were left unchecked, and with them the Pakistani establishment was left unchecked, too. What happened after hat everybody knows. The former proxies turned their guns at their benefactors, the Pakistani state. The probelms Pakistan is now facing are the dirct results of its covert policies. The US did never venture to check the situation here. It knew everything but it followed an ostrich strategy. The US was only concerned for its security. It did not bother about the plight of the people of Pakistan. It even did not listen to the sane voices raised by the people of Pakistan. Now what could be done is to review the whole game again; and assuar Pakistan of its security. In this game all the regional parties from India to Iran must be involved in order to bring stability in the region.

blund Author Profile Page :

Daniel,

We know that all people are unique. None of us are exactly alike. We also know through science that we are almost identical genetically. There are only minor genetic differences between all males of the species and all females of the species. In fact, if my memory serves me correct, there is only a 1% gene difference between humans and apes. So on one hand we know all humans are basically alike and on the other we know we're unique. We know that some people are smarter then others. We know some people are stronger then others. Some are taller, etc. etc. We also know certain civilizations/regions of the world have prospered and others have not prospered as well.

Taking these facts and purporting a theory that genetics is the reason some cultures have thrived and others haven't is where we part. As little as 2,000 years ago (a very short span of time in an evolutionary time line) Germans were considered "the barbarian hordes from the north." The tribes in what is now England and France were considered heathens by the Romans. This begs the question why they didn't progress at the same rate the Greeks did, the Romans did or even the Egyptians did. I don't think anyone would argue today the English, Germans, Danes, Swedes, French, Spanish, etc. are heathens and barbarians. Yet, 2,000 years ago they were. However, in the last 20 centuries they have evolved their cultures into industrialized nations with basically democratic governments. Many of these former heathens are the predecessors of what you know refer to as "white." It would be very difficult to make an argument these same people didn't adapt, prosper and create rich civilizations. They did, but it took them longer then the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians or even the Chinese to do this. The British went on to create an Empire that the sun never set on. Not bad for a group of barbarians and heathens only 1,500 years before.

That most areas of Africa haven't developed at the same rate other mostly northern areas of the planet isn't an indicator they won't or are unable to do so. It only means they haven't done it yet.

Judism has approximately 14 million people world wide. As of 2006 Israel accounted for 5.3 million and the US for 5.2 million. France came in 3rd with roughly 500,000. I guess I shouldn't have shocked but I was to learn Germany ranked 9th on this list with around 118,000. Why someone of the Jewish Faith would want to live in Germany seems odd to me. Anyway, the migration of the Jews obviously went through Europe and finally to the United States. Almost all of the citizens of Israel today either immigrated from Europe, the US or their parents did. During that slow migration over many centuries they did what most migrating groups did. They married into the local populations. In a span of only 500 years there are 25 generations. The probability on any person of the Jewish faith today being more then 1% genetically linked to the original Jewish tribes would be extremely rare. Generationally, we have 4 grandparents, 16 great parents, 32 great grandparents. It doubles going back each generation. By the time you go back 20 generations you are the genetic makeup of 1,064,816 people. Push out a generation to 25 years and that covers a 500 year period. An example of what I'm talking about would be my own family. I can trace 7 or my 8 great parents back to Sweden (they were at least born there). The 8th great grandparent was 50% Swedish and 50% English. This gives me reason to believe I'm about 92% Swedish. My brother married a woman who was 50% Swedish and 50% Welsh. His children are now about 75% Swedish. My brothers son married a Brazilian. There children are now 37.5% of Swedish descent. The point is racial purity (ethnic purity) has been a declining trend for thousands of years. The greater the degree of migration the more diluted blood lines become. Hence, the accomplishments of Jews have much more to do with their religion and the culture that surrounds their religion then their bloodlines. It's either this or we're going to have to conclude we could change Africa simply by having them marry and having children with different ethnic groups.

If history should have taught us anything it is cultures will come and go. A culture can be powerful in one period of time and it won't be in another. What we consider the great civilizations in recorded history have virtually all faded. The Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, the Aztecs, the Mayans, to a lesser extent the British. The same will also be true of the US at some point in the future and I can see no evidence genetics plays a part in any of this.

AnjuChandel Author Profile Page :

Barack Obama's biggest mistake in his first 6 months in presidency: letting go off his BlackBerry! Then he will get trapped inside the presidential bubble away from the realities.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Shiveh

You know and I know, we will never work with the Iranians in Afghanistan.

We are in Afghanistan to make sure that the seventh century Taliban will not regain power and create a terrorist supporting state again - a safe haven for other terrorist like al-Qaeda. Who we work with to achieve that goal is up to the planners in the military, and in the government, but it will not be any hard core Taliban.

We cannot win without protecting the population. Its as simple as that. We cannot achieve any goal as long as the Taliban are able to attack the population (and throw acid in the faces of girls attending school). I agree that the Afghan population needs to be strongly anti Taliban after we leave. It will be a waste if they‘re not strongly anti Taliban.

Thanks for your perspective on the population in Afghanistan. An article in the NYT this morning indicates Obama is trying to militarily defeat the Taliban. We’ll see what happens.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

To Blund: sorry for the contradiction in what I wrote last. I should have said in point number one that a culture is not like a garment found on the ground and which one easily puts on and takes off. What I actually wrote is that a culture is not like a garment one puts on and takes off. I hope that clears things up.

But my main point should have been clear from the piece, and the main point is this: that the more sophisticated a culture and therefore a people the more this culture can assimilate the best of other cultures and the more its citizens can succeed in other cultures. The less sophisticated a culture the less this culture can assimilate the best of other cultures and the less its citizens can succeed in other cultures--particularly sophisticated cultures. If you can dispute this main observation please do so and keep your insults to yourself. I have made every effort here to provide my view and of course to provide evidence for such. Please try to state clearly your view and provide evidence for such. That is all I have to say.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

Tom,

Iraq was a country with an educated middle class unified under Sadam’s rule before we attacked it. Situation in Afghanistan was quite different. Throughout Taliban rule, Northern part of Afghanistan was kept separate by the Northern Alliance forces (mostly Tajik Afghans) and when we decided to invade the country, we did it by giving these Afghan forces better weapons and air support. They did the fighting and defeated the Taliban. Since then some have joined the Afghan government and some form a parliamentary opposition. But we are supporting the Pashtuns in the government and fighting the Pashtuns in the countryside while sidelining the Tajik.

Fareed Zakaria’s GPS last Sunday was dedicated to the Afghanistan problem. I watched the program expecting to hear new ideas about how this anti-Taliban alliance is going to be used to our advantage but all I heard was one sentence admitting that Taliban have no influence in the northern parts of Afghanistan. The program was basically about why we should buy Pashtuns and “lite!” Talibans to stop them from shooting at us. Mr. Zakaria also announced the next president of Afghanistan! Actual campaigning and voting is to follow at a later time! (Perhaps he had his CFR hat on!)

The Northern alliance was supported by Iran during their stand against the Taliban. The military supplies and equipment they received from Iran enabled them to continue the fight. Perhaps our government believes that they are too close to the Iranians and they do not want to repeat the Iraqi mistake. I do not know if that is the case. Tajiks are Sunni and they did not fight the Taliban to invite the Iranian variation. We need a strong anti-Taliban presence in Afghanistan to stand after we eventually leave. All the money given to Taliban and their Pashtun sympathizers won’t change their nature. As soon as we are gone and the money stops, they’ll go back to their old habits and we are back at where we started.

Afghanistan has a long history of resistance against invasion. They live in a mountainous country that only they are familiar with. Countryside is ruled by young men that have a gun and a horse (or a pick-up truck) and not much else. War is all they have seen; riding and shooting is all they know (courtesy of the Russians, Taliban and now NATO forces); death and destruction is part of their everyday life. If we are going to intervene in their lives we should know exactly what our goals are and how we can achieve them. Are we there to stop the Taliban and Al Qaeda? Do we need a transit corridor for the oil from the Caspian basin? Are we looking for a permanent base for our military? I do not know the answer. If our goal is to vanish Taliban and Al Qaeda from Afghanistan, then we should make a pact with the Afghan Tajiks and the Iranians. We did it in 2002 and they forced our enemies out; so organize them again and let them take care of people they know. Let Afghan fight Afghan for the Afghanistan future. Stand back and leave that barren land to the locals. There is nothing there worth our lives and our treasure.

Zolko Author Profile Page :

Thge biggest mistakes, he already did: appoint the old guard (Clinton, Gates, Bernanke...) that was responsible for the current debacles. Apart from starting a new war, there is no bigger mistake he can do in the next 6 months. Well, that-is... there is Iran... so the biggest mistake he could make is to start a war with Iran (by Israeli proxy eventually).

mohammad_allam Author Profile Page :

He is a good person and very much dedicated to the primary task of the American prestige and world peace.It is better for him and the world peace that he make history by solving the problem of palestine.If he is not solving the problem of palestine just now,he will loose the very corner of middle east and muslims world relation on solid ground.
The second mistake might be wrong step if he allows USSR unchecked in this time.the policy on Iran must be finalized once for all.A nuclear free middle east would be in interest of America.And for this is also to force Israel to accept this doctrine.the whole of middle east should be based on nuclear free middle east with complete withdrawl of israel from arab land and a security gaurantee with recognition to israel.
In south Asia,usa has to bring Taliban into political process of Afghanistan.If the Maoist,the declared terrorist group could be given a chance for political power in NEpal then why not USa can allow Taliban to for democratic set up.If not given peace a chance then,this would be another mistake and USa would remain in Afghanistan fighting to ahiden enemy.

blund Author Profile Page :

Daniel,

Now you have me worried. Your last post was both nonsensical and contradictory. If this is a medication issue it's time to start taking it again, changing it or seeing someone to start it. Good luck. I sincerely hope you work it out.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

To those who accuse me of being a racist for saying white people, Jews and Asians are the most intelligent people in the world, here is my reasoning as simple as possible:

1) A culture is not something found on the ground like a garment and which one puts on and can be passed to others. A culture comes out of the genetics of a people--an excresence if you will.

2) The more sophisticated a people, and therefore more sophisticated a culture, the more this culture can not only assimilate the best of other cultures but the more individuals within this culture can succeed in other cultures. Examples: The Jews for two thousand years succeeding in other cultures and not having a country. Jews disproportionately winning Nobel prizes. An Asian country such as Japan leaping ahead and assimilating technology to itself to the point that now I own a Subaru and buy only Sony stereo equipment. Furthermore Japanese succeed easily as immigrants elsewhere. Example of the latter: intellectual Francis Fukuyama in the United States. And lastly white people, the people who circumnavigated the globe by ship, plane, balloon, communications equipment and who went to the moon. White people the most travelled people ever. And of course white people typically succeed in other cultures. White people are superb at assimilating the best of other cultures. In fact white people have been accused of stealing much! And so they have. Nevertheless the theme here is intelligence and adaptation.

3) The less sophisticated a culture is the more fixed and unadaptable it is, and furthermore the less its citizens succeed in other cultures. Examples: Muslims failing to modernize and having trouble assimilating in, say, Europe. In fact Muslims botched things a thousand years ago: they were heirs to classical western civilization and instead of a renaissance and scientific revolution they just piled on more Islam and have not changed since. We know what the west did when in contact with the manuscripts of western civilization--renaissance...Other examples: Africa failing to modernize. Blacks in America today even after years still failing in school...Another example: mostly Indian Mexicans leaving a corrupt culture for America and on the bottom of society in America.

4) Reason why for all the above: theory of evolution by natural selection according to Darwin and Wallace. Jews persecuted for centuries and the most intelligent of them living and passing on their genes. White people faced with the cold of the north and dying off in numbers, the most intelligent of them surviving. Same with Asians. Interesting fact: white people throw objects better than any other people in the world. Whites formerly big game hunters and cooperating and coordinating...And the people at the equator and the south feeling no pressure by natural selection toward intelligence. In fact these people were probably devastated by disease time and again and many of the most intelligent among them died off...

5) What to do today? I have no idea. Interbreed and bridge differences while making sure man does not ruin himself with his technology? Probably best course of action.

But I am willing to hear others. And now I allow criticism of my words and in fact all may have the last word.

yousufhashmi1 Author Profile Page :

Six months will not be sufficient to judge any action from the president .

Mr. Obama is inherited a presidency with complex problems. economy , the war on terror, battle in Afghanistan, soaring relation ship in Middle east and south American nations ,rising influence of China and Russia, global warming all needs careful analysis.and all these issues have conflicting interests meaning supporting one damages stakes on other issues .

I think he will play safe and maintain status quo and keep on looking for the opportunity to trim the sails .

the people who are looking some magical change may consider it a mistake but i think he has no other option. bringing some drastic changes at any front may cause more strains on the national economy.

this is not the time to look for the mistakes but support the administration to bring some changes for the prosperity of united states and the world.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Shiveh

I agree that Afghanistan could become Osama’s “foreign policy curse”, but our experience in Iraq could help Obama through this war as long as he remains patient. In fact, Iraq (although different, admittedly, than Afghanistan) will serve as the model.

First, the US needs to provide a security blanket for the population that is willing to work with the US - pay them - much like with the Sunni insurgents. This requires more soldiers - many more. Building roads and schools is good, but it just can’t be done without providing security first. Protection of the population is the number one priority. Additionally, advancement of the political process is difficult to near impossible without security.

Second, more soldiers are necessary because the US depends too much on air power which tends - as you rightly point out - to alienate the population. The success of the surge comes primarily from the soldiers living in the population - building a more trusting relationship with the native population, and at the same time, providing protection for the population.

Third, the war probably can’t be won without the necessary changes in Pakistan. Pakistan provides a safe haven for the Taliban to retreat, recover and plan new attacks. In addition, the madrassas provide a continuous stream of fresh recruits for the Taliban. Obama will have to use all of his diplomatic skills to ensure that Pakistan closes that safe haven.

Is it possible to win in Afghanistan? Yes, in my opinion. A true foreign policy success is possible for Obama in Afghanistan, but there is no chance of a negotiated settlement with the Taliban. Either we should try to win or get out.

The US was interested in building some oil pipelines in the mid 1990’s when the Taliban were mostly in power, but we are not motivated by pipelines today. The Taliban built a state on terror and human rights abuses. Some terrorist organizations looked to Afghanistan under the guidance of the Taliban as the ideal Islamic state (and an ideal place to train for jihad).

Were are in Afghanistan for the right reasons - to prevent the creation of another terrorist state and to prevent the state sanctioned human rights abuses under the leadership of the seventh century Taliban.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

Well, it seems I have received quite a bit of emails in reply.

When I am not being called a racist, we have counters to my argument such as these: Jews are so creative because of culture not genetics. Culture? What does that mean? That they have habits that can be passed on to others? No, of course not. A culture is genetic. First you have to have the genes to create a culture. You do not have culture first then genetics. First comes "culture"--and by the best minds. Then education slowly begins. But all through history education has not succeeded in bringing up the least intelligent people in a society to the heights achieved by the rest--that is an obvious fact. Furthermore the heights of a culture depend on the highest types of individuals within. In fact so much of modern culture depended on just a few dozen individuals--people such as the wright brothers, Edison, etc.

Second it is a stone cold fact that if you are a jew you are more likely to win a Nobel prize than if you are an individual of any other race or ethnic group. One interesting theory why is that Jews have been persecuted for centuries and the most intelligent of them managed to survive and pass on genes.

As for my being a racist, I am white--and I have no problem observing that Asians and Jews tend to score the highest on I.Q. tests. Furthermore if you are an Asian or a Jew in America you are more likely than others to go to higher education. Everyone is familiar with his high school days where it could be observed that the Asians just succeed--in fact it is something of an absurdity to have an Asian drop out of high school. And if you want to attribute that to culture--as if Asian habits can be transmitted to others--well the evidence is against you, because people just do not succeed as the Asians do. Their drive and ambition is genetic.

And perhaps lastely, the notion that there is some white gene for intelligence and that it travels to where democracy has just happened to have arisen in the world. I never said such a thing. I do not know if there is anything like an intelligence gene. I do not know if there is a similarity between Asians and Jews and white people on this front. I suspect a confluence of genes. But I will say this: democracy is the most difficult type of government to have. It requires a careful balance between centrifugal and centripetal powers. So yes, it can be said that the peoples capable of democracy are probably more intelligent and cooperative than people of other cultures. But I am not so sure of a strict correlation there.

As for me being a neonazi or skinhead or whatever, I have never so much as looked into such organizations. I can only attribute such insults at me due to ignorance. I know your viewpoints friends. You do not know mine. You are not allowed to even think of mine. Do you want to know how much harm American sociology has done? Listen to this: I read in I believe scientific American this gem: that there is more genetic difference between a white man such as myself and the white man farthest from me genetically than there is difference between me and ANY other person of a different race. Have you ever heard of anything so absurd?

And I read about linguists saying all languages are equally complex and that we humans have largely equal language centers in our brains (by which we rapidly pick up language in our youth). Really? You mean there is no real difference between my language center and that of James Joyce or Marcel Proust? Ridiculous! Those great writers vastly outstrip me as to capacity for language.

I could go on some more, but I will just content myself with saying this mistake is being made: that there is some sort of culture separate from genetics and this culture can be acquired by any other people. In fact the genetic view does not exist at all to your typical leftist. The typical leftist--and right wing as well--believes say, that American culture can be aquired by any other culture, that the heights of democracy can spread. Left and right are not so far apart. They are different only in believing how democracy can be spread. I say it cannot spread easily any way you care to spread it.

How difficult is it to see that the heights of culture have largely been created by white people, Asians and Jews? You would be generous to attribute 1% to the rest of the world. Even liberals inadvertantly acknowledge this: Have you noticed that when you go into a bookstore that african american books are located in--yes you guessed it--the african american section? Why should they be placed there if there is no difference between whites and blacks? Surely no neonazi or skinhead placed them there. No! it was largely liberal publishers in cahoots with no doubt prominantly liberal bookstores.

But this conversation is getting boring. I am accused of being closeminded, unable to change my mind. Never mind that I travelled around the world and can come across the typical right or left wing views anywhere. You just say nothing new to me people. Try some courage and originality for once.

To conclude, I do not write such out of some desire to kill less intelligent peoples etc. I write to warn of the difficulties ahead. It seems right and left people today are doing enough of the killing themselves. They do not need me. Examples? Try black people disproportionately in prison in the United States. Try just watching how the middle east countries fight with themselves as much as fight against Israel. Try everyone just watching as Africans brawl. Try everyone just watching as dictatorships here and there oppress their people. I certainly do not have to lift a finger.

You better hope I am wrong and you are right, because if I am right things will only be worse.

Wait: a last note on education. Again, I do not really believe such exists. If the standards are lowered to accomodate the bottom 30% the top 70% would make an outcry. If the standards were raised to accomodate the top 30% the bottom 70% would raise an outcry. So standards are set somewhere in the middle--and this disguises the fact that the bottom 30% never really goes on to higher education and that the top 30% largely teaches itself....

tropicalfolk Author Profile Page :

Daniel, your rant against education is sickening. You used to be an interesting, thinking person. Not anymore.

You wrote:
- "I really do not believe in education. I believe in genetics. I say education is largely an illusion"
- "Intelligence, drive, ethics are genetic"
- "White people and Jews are hands down the most creative people in the world. Virtually all of modern culture has been created by them"

Well, my friend, being a Jew is NOT a genetic fact: it's cultural. It is acquired through -formal and informal- EDUCATION.

So, if Jews are -as you say- "the most creative people in the world", it has nothing to do with their genes, but with their culture.

Obviously, your lack of knowledge about Jews cannot be blamed on your genes, but on your lack of education about it. You don't need a DNA transplant in order to understand it.

If education can help you understand the world a little better, then education can be useful to other people as well.

Maybe what you need is less Plato, less Oscar Wilde, and more Rihana, more Beyonce, more J Lo, more Penelope Cruz... or just more Scooby Doo.

Good Luck.

P.S. Don't blame your genes!

Think2 Author Profile Page :

The worst thing which US President Obama could do in his first 6 months is to become encapsulated by those who surround him and try to define his presidency. When that happens, he will lose control over his presidency and people will begin to lose faith in his avowed priorities.

The next worst thing, and he has already begun this, is to imagine that the US economic problems and solutions mirror those surrounding Roosevelt's "New Deal". That was then, this is now. Our culture is totally different. Our technology abounds. Our expectations are totally different. Obama has been trying to frame the situation today around a totally different time.

Fortunately, there is a Teacher at the door who is equipped to point the way through the world's problems. A new luminary is being reported in the sky above Norway, and gradually will be seen night and day be people all over the world. It is a sign that this Teacher is going to give a first interview on a major US television show. He will not claim to be anyone other than one of us, but his ideas will stimulate the minds of people everywhere to begin building a new, enlightened civilization.
See: http://www.share-international.org

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page :

Daniel, there is not much I can add to what Shiveh and Blund have already said, except this, as it pertains to years of failed, ruinous, American military adventures throughout the world.

It would seem that only in an Orwellian world could one "turn the world democratic by force". In other words, what is meant to be "of the people, by the people and for the people", has not yet been achieved against the people.

This is not to say, of course, that no one has ever attempted to do just that. Quite the contrary: we did, repeatedly, and the more geometrically-minded among us are still struggling to square that circle.

The point is that whenever that was attempted, not surprisingly, it was observed that arose insurmountable problems related to how one could possibly win "heart and minds". Many have since concluded that even the most devastating military adventures, even as attempts at "democratization by force", could generally not succeed without winning "hearts and minds".

I do not know whether one needs to have the IQ gene in order to understand this or not, yet what cannot be done, apparently, as the poet puts it, is turn the world lily-white by soaking it in blood.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

Maybe a better word is "right". Although the Russians literally crushed the Chechen separatist (and everyone else), there are still jihadist left. You cannot kill the idea, that's for certain.

You may not be able to kill an ideology, but, conversely, you cannot negotiate or compromise with an ideology bent on your destruction either. Good luck to George Mitchell in the ME.

Shiveh, you had a very nice comment on Afghanistan, but I have a few comments to add if I get some time tonight.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

Two thoughts.

First, the concept of a "good war." Sorry, it doesn't exist. It could be used as the classical definition of an oxymoron. Justifiable or necessary maybe used, but not the word good. Even WWII couldn't be called a good war. Was it unfortunately necessary? Yes, it was. Was it justifiable? Yes, it was. However, when you think of the 50 million plus that died and the destruction and human suffering that took place good isn't a word that should accompany the word war.

Second point. The concept of winning wars today is pretty much an antiquated concept. We should have learned this from Vietnam, but we didn't. We should have learned this from the Russians in Afghanistan, but we didn't. Frankly, we should have learned this from Iraq recently, but we didn't. We have the notion if we throw enough troops and military hardware at someone we'll win. Whether or not this is actually the case is a moot point today since we are unwilling to fight wars any longer that have a probability of victory as the end goal. We simply, and rightfully so, are unwilling to crush the opposition. In WWII we went after population centers without blinking an eye. We fire bombed cities, we dropped atomic bombs. We were willing to crush the opposition's willingness and spirit to continue and we didn't care how many civilians we killed in the process. That isn't true any longer. Now we go after specific military targets and almost apologize for civilian causalties. These policies allow us to defeat standard military armies quite easily, but that doesn't translate into winning a war. It only means we can defeat conventional armies. When we face unconventional armies, like Vietnam, we are ill equipped to deal with these conflicts.

What we have done is changed the logic we use to fight conflicts today. In WWII we were at war with Germany and Japan. Today we're at war with only the bad elements of societies. Palestinians are basically good, but Hamas is bad. Iraqi's are basically good, but Saddam and Bathists were bad. Afghani's are basically good, but ElQaeda and the Taliban are bad. Iranians are basically good, but current government is bad. And we wonder why we're not more successful and why we keep making excuses for things not going well?

Your statement that Israel could beat Hamas simply isn't true. Engaging Hamas militarily today will lead to Israeli victories. However, that doesn't translate into eliminating them. It only means Israel is currently able to win the skirmishes they engage in, but it doesn't mean Israel can win the "war" or eliminate Hamas. Trust me, if Israel could eliminate Hamas they would. If the US could eliminate ElQaeda and the Taliban we would. Instead what we hear today is how we have done great damage to them and rendered them ineffective and at the same time said they are still dangerous. Well, if they are still dangerous they are not ineffective.

This is not an argument against the use of military intervention. As I stated at the beginning there are times where armed conflict is necessary and justified. I have no arguments against military action against Afghanistan. I have a problem with how it was conducted and the apparent future operations there. With Iraq I was against the invasion, have been against the way it was conducted and can't wait to get out. Until the day comes when we are ready, willing and able to break the spirit of an enemy then we our military should be used for surgical strikes only. Otherwise we will just beome bogged down in one unwinnable situtation after another.

blund Author Profile Page :

Shiveh,

On the campaign trail Obama encountered a young woman who was clearly anti-abortion. She started grilling Obama on how he could condone murdurering babies. Obama stopped her and asked her one simple question. He asked her when she thought life started. She replied at conception. He then replied to her he didn't believe that's when life started. He then added since either side didn't have compelling evidence to back up their claims that their positions were really based on faith. To which he noted it is virtually impossible to argue faith in any logical manner and he moved on to the next questioner.

That's why I gave up on Daniel. What were my options? Arguing faith? Maybe getting upset and calling him an arrogant, neo-nazi, skin head, white supremist, pinhead? Do you think that would have done any good? Of course not. His mind on these matters is made up. He has been convinced and convinced himself white males are superior and no amount of logic will ever counter that belief.

As far as Obama is concerned I have no doubt his election has eaten away at him. However, since Obama's mother was white the magical gene could have inadvertenly been transmitted to him off- setting his African heritage. Ugh, that was an ugly sentence to write.

Nope, if Daniel wants to be a racist who am I to say he can't be? All of us together on this thread can point out the holes in his logic at every turn, but ultimately his argument is one of faith and that isn't arguable so why waste the time on him? That's why I gave up on him so easily.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

Hi Bob! I’m disappointed in you. You give up too easily. Daniel is a logical person and his IQ odyssey has a logical trail that we must follow to see his point. Remember he started this journey by praising the Jew’s genetically superior IQ. Then, to help us clearly see the source of this IQ gene, Daniel told us that this special gene is not part of every Jewish genome but a characteristic of the Ashkenazy Jews. The white Jews, the European ones have it; the Sephardic Jews that did not rob shoulders with white Europeans did not get the gene. So Daniel’s gene originally generated from white Europeans and I believe it was around the time of the Renaissance that it first appeared. Daniel tells us that this is a traveling gene and also cleverly points to its means of travel. East Asians have it! but not all of them as he points out. You can find Daniel’s gene in Hong Kong but not in China, in Japan and South Korea but not in North Korea; Singaporean’s have it but Vietnamese and Cambodians don’t; Indians have it but when they moved to Bangladesh and Pakistan, it didn’t move with them! Do you need more clues to understand that Daniel’s gene travels by means of democratic governance and open economies? He even tells you that who is the driver, you are just not listening! Lawrence Summers sacrificed his Harvard chair to make us see that it is the Y chromosome that is on the driver’s seat and they crucified him by giving his position to a woman. Such cruelty is unheard of! Follow the trail and you can see that Daniel believes a precious special gene has chosen the white male portion of the human species over the rest. What is wrong with that? Shouldn’t you instead of giving up on him blame this ungrateful white male bunch for choosing and even worse celebrating the appointment of a black guy to lead them? It is disappointing.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

1. Hamas never quit firing rockets into Israel during the entire truce, so they never met the terms of the truce to begin with. You would think that Hamas would care enough for their population to stop the rocket and mortar fire (at least for awhile), but the reality is that for them to achieve their goal, the Palestinian population will be sacrificed many more times in the future to satisfy their Islamic philosophy - no infidels on Islamic land - forever. Israel could move back to the 1948 UN partition line and it would make no difference. No to Israel - forever. One square inch? Forget it.

It doesn’t matter who you or I believe broke the truce, all’s we have to remember is the word “never”. There is absolutely no counter to that word, and it’s the only word that matters. Israel is logically dealing with "never" in my opinion.

2. Of course Israel planned for the war. What would you expect after eight years of rocket and mortar fire, and after a poorly planned war in Lebanon? Do you honestly believe that Hamas didn’t plan for this war? Hamas poorly planned one aspect of the war, however, too few Palestinian civilians were killed, thus they could have done better on the propaganda front. I don’t need to list all the ways that Hamas uses their own people as shields etc.

3. But that bombing of Lebanon kept Hezbollah out of the war. Hezbollah won a psychological victory in 2006, but that psychology did not translate into any action in this year‘s war - for a reason. Hamas and Hezbollah do listen to force, and by the same token, they will take advantage of any weakness - like the pullout of Gaza and Lebanon by Israel.

4. The world is chock full of dictators, and the Middle East is one of the worst locations on the planet for human rights abuses. That’s why I laugh when Ahmadinejad (in his letter to the King) calls out the King and refers to the Gaza deaths as “…this obvious atrocity and killing of your own children…”.  The Islamists are against statehood for the Palestinians, and the Palestinians are nothing more than a political tool for their war against Israel. Nothing more.

5. Whatever.

6. What’s interesting to me is that you support the Islamists and then you talk (ironically enough) about peace. Of course I forgot, you support the single state solution - the destruction of Israel. Doesn't sound like you support peace to me.

7. No, I don’t buy that one. The Russians trounced the Chechen rebels, and Israel has the means to route Hamas as well. The US has the means to win in Afghanistan also, but we clearly need help from the dysfunctional state of Pakistan ( not to mention the useless Europeans).

The New York Times refers to the war in Afghanistan as the “good war”. Forget terrorism, just from a humanitarian point of view the war in Afghanistan is a good war.

Thanks for the post

blund Author Profile Page :

Daniel,

I sincerely doubt anyone will ever change your opinions on racism. Thankfully, the vast majority of democrats and republicans alike absolutely reject your views.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

A major mistake Obama could make is view the world through the science of sociology as it is taught in America. Democrats criticize republicans for wanting to turn the world democratic by force, but the democrats differ only in that we should not use force. Democrats think we should talk to opponents or provide aid or educate people.

Both republicans and democrats are caught up in a particular sociological view that has only grown in power since the civil rights movement in the U.S. This view is that all people--and both sexes--are genetically equal as to intelligence--and equal as to ambition, ethics and sophistication of culture. Therefore according to this view, everyone can easily achieve equality by education.

I say this view is tragically mistaken. Democrats criticize republicans for sacrificing american freedoms in the attempt to make the U.S. safe--in fact democrats call republicans arrogant for such--but in actuality the republicans make both the country safe and do honor to the enemy by taking the enemy seriously. It is the democrats who are arrogant--who are so complacent and so dishonor the enemy by saying no liberties will be compromised for security.

The democratic view on balance--if we remove the republicans religious rhetoric--is worse than the republicans view. The democrats for all their insults at the republicans for trying to democratize places such as Iraq try the same democratizing--except without force. (I have to repeat myself, because it seems nothing takes anymore unless it is repeated ad infinitum).

Democrats when faced with the spectacle of Asians, Jews and white people succeeding more easily at education say there really is no genetic difference as to intelligence of people--no--instead what we have with the Asians and Jews and white people is a better work ethic, etc.--things which are supposedly easily transferable to other peoples. In other words we can observe Asian's work habits and just imitate these habits for ourselves.

Democrats overlook the fact that the successful cultures in the world just did not come out of thin air--that culture just descended on a people from some God or something--no--what occurred is first genetic ability to create culture, then the culture can be somewhat transmitted. Things like intelligence, drive, ethics are genetic. But democrats treat such as easily transferable things, because after all, people are in general equal according to democrats (not only equal as to opportunity but equal as to ability).

Things are so bad that Lawrence Summers gets fired from Harvard for stating the obvious: that women are not as good in math as men. You have a truly mathematically gifted boy saying what is an obvious gift could not have been realized without the aid of his quite mathematically mediocre high school teacher (the kid is so brainwashed by the notion that everything comes from education he cannot even recognize his obvious gift is a gift and not something that came about by education).

You have blacks and Hispanics constantly coming in last in education in America, but of course the only reason why is because they have just not had the same educational opportunities, and the solution is more and more education. It seems America has been so driven by need to integrate the country that education has become almighty and is supposed to bridge even the widest racial differences--never mind that in Plato it is recognized that the highest teachings can only be taught to those genetically capable (the golden people according to the republic).

Education despite all advances of genetics, despite all evidence that the truly worthwhile things are genetic (Oscar Wilde said anything really worth learning cannot be taught) still is so caught up in a nurture over nature view that we have this notion of "no child left behind"--as if everybody is equal and can not only go to college but reach the heights of culture.

I say all of this is a mistake. I say there are differences between peoples--and not just visual differences. Asians work hard but even according to them they need to become more creative. White people and Jews are hands down the most creative people in the world. Virtually all of modern culture has been created by them (the harnessing of electricity and all that comes with that. Every single type of engine imaginable).

Many of the peoples in the world receive modern culture only at second hand--which is to say they had no part in creating such and only take it to themselves. It is a big question whether they abuse such far more than the cultures which invented such. Another error of democrats is that they play down I.Q.--in fact we hear such things as this: to be a lawyer, a doctor, an architect, an engineer, a four star general does not depend so much on I.Q. as it depends on drive, etc.--and of course to democrats such drives can be learned and taught and are not genetic.

And never mind that it has been demonstrated that the above named professions cannot really be arrived at without I.Q. moving above 120. In fact it has been demonstrated that as I.Q. moves above 120 the capacity for self-education increases--as well as the ability to go on to higher education. To say it again, and to be really clear, races and ethnic groups differ not only as to culture but as to genetic foundation--and it is not so easy to transfer one culture to another or expect all peoples to equally demonstrate the same drives and intelligence.

To do so is to me the biggest foreign policy--in fact domestic as well--mistake.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

on your last post:

1., It was not HAMAS who broke the truce, it was Israel via nov raid to kill Hamas in Gaza AND BY KEEPING BLOCKADE, contrary to previous agreement.

2., That Israel after plannning the attack for 6 months, and receiving approx 1000 bunker buster bombs from THE IDIOT IN RESIDENCE, a.k.a the President of USA, consciously broke the truce, to get an excuse for the idiotic attack on GAZA.

3., That the world condemned Israel was a foregone conclusion when they sent 80 planes to destroy 100 "target" WITHOUT WARNING and knowing that lot of civilians will be killed. That they kept up the bombardment for another 22 days, USING BARRED AMMUNITION AGAINST CIVLIANS, ATTAKING HOSPITALS, AMBULANCES, UN BUILDINGS, SCHOOLS, Etc. After a similar fiasco in Lebanon, with similar bombing of Hospitals, civilian targets, UN outpost, the world had enough of the BARBARIAN ZIONIST HORDE. That a JEW, the President of France has to condemn the Jewish nation on moral grounds points to the barbaric nature of the Zionist leadership.

3., There is no evidence that IRan is making any Nuclear bombs. Up to now they have met the requirements of Non Plorification Treaty [the USA did not, nor did Israel, which did not sign the Treaty.] Russia/USA intelligence communities also denied that Iran has any bomb making plans. The USA/ISrael Spin is getting tiresome on this and many other foreign issues.

4., there are no MODERATE ARAB STATES, there is a lifelong self-appointed Dictator in Egypt, there is a monarch in Saudi Arabia, whose brother just published a warning to USA/Israel. Neither country meets the minimum requirements of human rights, both are worse in democratic measures than even IRan.

5., Not only Iran, but almost all countries are hiding the economic problems., where the USA is the leader of creating the problems, and having the biggest mess in size, though the UK and Iceland are the worst actual cases.

6., PA does not have any legal power, as the term of ABBAS has expired, he was never anything but a tool for USA/Israel in endless fruitless talks/peace processes. I say good riddance. Do recall that ISrael created and financed HAMAS at the start to undermine PA.

7., Israel never had any probable means of extrerminating Hamas, in a similar vein as they had no hope against Hezbullah, and as USA/Nato has no hope against Taliban/Tribes in Afganistan.

That the Israeli leadership [political/military] is so stupid that they undertook another attempt of popular party's extermination, when they should have known that it is impossible in the time frame [even with USA supplied most advanced weapons] when the end of the conflict would be'sset not on Israeli decision but on the date of the Inagruation of the 44th President. idnicates that Israel's leadership is as devoid of intelligence as they are devoid of morality, of rule of law, etc

The Roamn Empire was destroyed by BARBARIANS AT ROME's GATEs, Israel will be destroyed by the Barbnarians in the Zionist parties, While the BArbarians in Wall Street had already a good run at destroying the USA Empire.

shapiromarilyn Author Profile Page :

Obama's biggest mistake would be to continue insisting on his bipartisan policy, especially regarding his economic recovery legislation. Folks, we are skirting the edges of another Great Depression. There's no time to wait for the remaining far-right Republicans in Congress (loyal Bushies all with very few exceptions) to come around. They NEVER will. Instead, if Democrats/Obama agree to water down their legislation, and wait for Republicans to join them, it will be a very long wait and an ineffective (translation: do-nothing) "recovery". Today alone, Caterpillar is shedding 20,000 jobs, ING 7,000, and Sprint Nextel 8,000. And it's only Monday!

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Iran and Hamas Benefit From the Cease Fire and the War

The Iranian leadership pulled off master political gamble by instigating the war with Israel through their proxy, Hamas. Iran (and Hamas) benefited in a multitude of ways.

1. Media, World and UN condemnation of Israel

First and foremost, Iran and Hamas orchestrated a public relations coup by enlisting the western media, and channeling European and Muslim rage against Israel. The “Jewish “ state rightly defended their citizens against eight years of rocket and mortar attacks launched at civilian population centers, but world opinion was overwhelmingly directed against Israel. The western media - especially in Europe - strongly sympathized with the Palestinians, and Sarkozy of France condemned the Israelis for using “disproportionate” force to counter the rockets launched by Hamas. The western media broadcasted and reported on the “humanitarian” crisis in Gaza, and reported countless stories of Palestinian suffering and hopelessness in the face of the onslaught. France 2 television - accused of falsely reporting the al-Durra story - even used an old video from an accidental truck bombing in Gaza in 2005 which showed dead babies laid out on sheets. Media sympathy for the Palestinians made objectivity the first casualty of the Gaza war.

The UN condemned Israel for creating a humanitarian crisis. According to the UN, Israel killed far too many civilians despite the efforts they made to avoid civilian deaths in one of the most densely populated areas on earth. At various times over the past three weeks, Israel was accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Venezuela and Bolivia each broke off relations with Israel and called Israel’s venture into Gaza “genocide“ even though the charge is absurd. Tremendous pressure was exerted on Israel by the UN to halt the Gaza operation and even the US - Israel’s closest ally - abstained on a UN vote that called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. According to Olmert, the vote did not address Israeli security concerns, yet the US did not side with Israel. Turkey - also an ally of Israel - suggested Israel should be “barred” from the UN.

World protest reached a fever pitch in Muslim countries - especially in the Middle East, and protesters demonstrated against Israel across Europe. Incidents of anti Semitism skyrocketed in Europe.

2. Iran has a clear path to nuclear weapons.

World opinion has moved so drastically against Israel that any attempt to forcefully stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program will be met with a unified world condemnation (and probably sanctions) despite Ahmadinejad’s threat to destroy Israel. In effect, the Gaza war probably nullified any attempt by Israel to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities for the foreseeable future. Worse still, Israel cannot depend on any help from the US on this issue. Tacit support for an Israel strike would end the expected neutral approach to a ME peace solution supported by the Obama administration. European led negotiations and weak sanctions failed. Iran now has a clear path to nuclearization.

3. Iran challenges Saudi leadership (from my first post)

Iran exploited Arab and Persian anger during the war in Gaza to promote Iran’s standing and diminish Saudi Arabia’s leadership role in the Middle East. In a recent posting on his website, Ahmadinejad, a hero to many Arabs, criticized Saudi Arabia. He accused the King and other Arab leaders [Egypt] of “complicity“ in the “genocide“ of the Palestinians. In addition, Ahmadinejad called for an oil embargo against the countries that support Israel, i.e. the US. While the call was ignored by Arab leaders (this time), it can’t be ruled out in future conflicts.

An Arab summit held at the Qatari capital at the height of the Gaza conflict underscored the split in the Middle East between US-backed “moderate” Arab countries and the Iranian-Syrian axis. Egypt and Saudi Arabia - along with ten members of the Arab League - boycotted the summit. Ahmadinejad and Hamas, along with twelve members of the Arab League, used the summit to boost support for Hamas and urge Arabs to “cut ties with Israel”. Qatar and Mauritania complied and cut economic and political ties with Israel. The rise of Iran has clearly undercut Saudi and Egyptian leadership in the Middle East and diminished the “moderate” Arab voice.

4. Ahmadinejad hides economic woes at home.

On the home front, Ahmadinejad was able to divert attention from Iran’s economic woes, and rally the populace around anti Israel sentiment. By some accounts, seventy thousand Iranians volunteered to join Hamas in Gaza. Israel is not the only country in the Middle East with coming elections. The timing of the Gaza war probably secured the reelection of Ahmadinejad - set for June, 2009.

5. Hamas undermines PA leadership.

Abbas did little during the Gaza war, and was even accused by Hamas of collaborating with Israel (especially in the assassination of Said Siam) Hamas defiance strengthened their standing with the Palestinian people - including those in the West Bank - and undermined the leadership of the Palestinian Authority - especially Abbas. This is an ominous sign for Israel which refuses to negotiate with Hamas.

6. Israel stopped short.

Israel learned some lessons from their war with Hezbollah in 2006, but forgot the most important one. Decisive victory is a must, and although Hamas took a major beating, they survived to lead in Gaza again. A Hudna (cease fire) could be signed by Hamas and Israel, but how long will Hamas stay quiet until their next demand in this never ending war? Israel will - with certainty - have to fight again because Hamas will never recognize the “Jewish” state, nor allow Israel to exist in peace - even with a Palestinian state. The fundamentalist Islamic philosophy of Hamas (Iran and Hezbollah, as well) precludes an “infidel” state on Islamic soil. That will never be a bargaining chip for Hamas.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

Sorry, I have no Israeli friends, or Jewish friends and for that matter, no Arab friends or Iranian friends. As far as my ME friends go, I am entirely neutral. In addition, I don’t work for the Republican Party (never have) or any think tanks although that would be fun.

I don’t work for the CIA, AIPAC, or PNAC, but sometimes it feels like I work for CRAP. I have absolutely no influence on our government, or any of our policies except through the voting booth which I use as frequently as possible. As Obama - and especially the Congressional Democrats - will soon find out, actually governing is much different than sitting on the sidelines criticizing the decision makers. If I was suddenly made President of the US, that is, actually governing, my (more or less) neoconservative philosophy would surely tone down. Most people will drive a bus load of children differently that their own personal vehicle.

That being said, when you show me the Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran will accept a Jewish state in the Middle East, then my tone will change, after all, there are 57 Muslim member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and one Jewish state. I’ve said it numerous times, I support the Arab League Peace Initiative.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

There are a lot of well educated economist working on the problem, but there is also a great deal of disagreement on the solution. Krugman, et. al (NYT) believes the program should be much larger than Obama proposes, and some economist (free market) just believe we should let banks fail. The Bush tax rebate, to my knowledge, didn’t stimulate anything, and part of the rest of the Bush plan was spent to save (prop up) favored banks. Half of the original stimulus money hasn’t even been spent yet - even though they said we had to pass this in a week to save our economy.

I’m skeptical that the Obama plan will work to start with, but I’m even more skeptical that we have to pass the stimulus tomorrow by 7:00 PM, or else the bottom will drop out of the US economy.

Gietner is a very bright person (not much for paying taxes though - at least that I can respect), so we’ll see what happens. I would expect the Republicans to oppose - to a certain extent - the recovery plan as proposed by Obama, but unless entirely unified, they haven’t a prayer to bargain even for a few business tax breaks, let alone stop this package entirely.

tropicalfolk Author Profile Page :

Obama's biggest mistake? Well, there are plenty to choose from, already:

1. Geithner!!! Not only has he enraged China. More important is the coming tax rebellion as US tazpayers will follow the Treasury Secretary's example.

2. Clinton!!! The Foundation's donors -Chinese, Saudis, etc- will surely demand Hillary to serve THEIR interests.

3. Guantanamo!!! The idea of closing that place was interesting. But as soon as those terrorists gather again and begin bombing US interests around the globe...

4. Iraq!!! Obama promised to finance his domestic agenda by withdrawing from Iraq, remember? Now, after the genocide commited by Israel in Gaza, the entire Middle East -particularly Iran- is salivating at the idea of the US retreating from Iraq.

5. Afghanistan and Pakistan!!! Candidate Obama condemned US attacks that killed civilians. Now, he seems to have authorized an attack that killed civilians. Afghans and Pakistanis are enraged!!! The days of US troops in that region are numbered.

But the biggest mistake of them all can be: "It's going to get worse before it gets better". Obama, the master of hope, has managed to turn a previous UNCERTAINTY into a current CERTAINTY: IT'S GOING TO GET WORSE!!!!

So, everybody is behaving accordingly. Before January 20, banks were not lending out of FEAR of people not being able to pay their debts; now they are SURE customers wont be able to pay. Before January 20, businesses were not hiring out of FEAR of falling demand; now they are SURE that demand will fall, so they are rushing to fire employees. And after January 20, consumers know they are more likely to lose their jobs, so consumption will fall dramatically. A self-fullfilling prophecy.

coolgolf Author Profile Page :

i am in a senior moment but who in their clouded mind after being beaten almost to death by a police state said "can't we all just get along".

I know it sounds simplistic and silly to think that that it could work, but either get along or die.

Is it that easy??? i think so. but what do I know i think it is better to live for your country than die for it. you don't get much done DEAD.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

re the Rpince's commentary in FT

I would expect that some of the so called "moderates" in the arab world {King Abdullah, Mubarak, etc] are feeling the heat from the ARAB street. When self-preservation worries overtake this sorry group, than Uncle Sam is in big trouble [so is Israel].

The world economy revolves around ENERGY [not money - a presumably store of value, which is constantly debased by corrupt governments] and OPEC controls more than 50% of the worlds supply available from non - state owned and not depleting supplies [This excludes Russia, Ecuador, Sudan,as suppliers and Egypt and USA Mexico, etc as depletors]. While Uncle Sam might take a dim view of another oil embargo CUASED BY ISRAEL/PALESTINE TROUBLES - other powers, such as JApan, China, EU also count. THE USA can not invade and control OPEC LANDS - that is world war III -a.k.a. as suicide.

So, I believe, that sooner than later [5-10 years at most] either Israel settles the problem with or without USA involvement, else it is the end of Israel theocratic state.

I would much prefer a peaceful settlement - impossible while ZIONIST idiots are voted in, then the alternative.

You probably did not experience war personally, I did, it is not something a sane person [aside from armchair generals like AIPAC/AEI memers] look forward to.

So, I respectfully suggest to you to give up on past TALKING POINTS, and start working on suggestions to your friends in Israel [and any think-tank members in USA] indicating ways to resolve the problem, ere it is too late.

Good Luck

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

As far as economic stimulus packages working in getting us out of this mess I agree. FDR's stimulus packages didn't really work. WWII and our intact infra structure at the end of WWII brought us out of the depression.

Obviously, we have the best and brightest working on our problems today. While that is the case they are uncertain what will cure our ills today as well. In essence they are forced to try something to slow down the decline that taking place today to keep us from going into a depression. Stimulus at least will slow down the declining spiral we're in now. It's not that I like it, but at this point I don't see or have I heard of a viable alternative to slow down the losses.

Starting about 5 years ago there were a number of us who were seriously questioning what was going to happen if we didn't start adhering to prudent underwriting guidelines in making loans. There was a much larger group who argued continuing to ease underwriting guidelines. By nature I am not a doom and gloomer. I postulated the Sub-prime industry would go under, which they have. I didn't foresee their demise would cause a ripple effect strong enough to take down the A-paper market as well. This trend sped up and took the commerical market as well. Once confidence was lost in the system lending retrenched into making only loans that are either completely safe or are being backed by the Federal government.

My argument 5 years ago was the easing of underwriting resrictions created a larger pool of potential borrowers. Low interest rates at the time lead to this larger pool of less qualified borrowers into buying houses. Housing like almost every commodity is governed by the laws of supply and demand. More borrowers directly resulted in housing prices increasing. I theorized at the time this would have to come to an end. Once this new class of questionable borrowers had purchased prices would have to stabilize. Once they stabilized these sub prime borrowers would start defaulting at a rate that would be equal to or slightly greater then historically sub prime borrowers defaulted at. This number is roughly three times the rate A paper borrowers default at. Refinancing the debt, which was toxic by nature, was only an option so long as the easy credit programs existed and property values continued to appreciate. If you look back at what happened it was very close to this scenario. Housing prices stagnated at a high level based on the supply and demand. This caused sub prime financing to start defaulting. The defaults led to putting a moritorium of easy credit loans which then garuanteed almost all of the sub-prime loans would default.

Here's where I was wrong. I thought the Fed's would step in buy up these foreclosures and renegotiate the terms of the toxic loans that were foreclosures waiting to happen. I expected the price the Fed's would require would be the shutting down of the sub prime industry for being stupid. I thought this action by the Feds would lead to a managed downturn in home values with little to no loss in confidence in the bond markets. I was wrong. The Bush Administration allowed the markets to seek their own levels. (I'm not ragging on Bush about this decision since my scenario required using tax payer dollars to in essence reward shakey borrowers who shouldn't have been extended a loan in the first place. Even democrats had serious reservations about doing this.) However, my argument was it would be cheaper in the long run to save these less then deserving borrowers then dumping all of these properties back onto a market that couldn't possibly assimilate them. This would lead to housing prices dropping like a rock and that wasn't good for anyone. Again, I was wrong. I wasn't wrong about the ensuing drop in prices as foreclosures and tightening credit took place. I was wrong about it coming into reality.

As late as last year I still thought we could turn it around by stabilizing housing and restoring confidence in our markets. I don't believe that is true anymore. So much damage has been done to almost all sectors in the economy as a result of the loss of confidence I believe we are past the point of no return in this recession. Hence, while Obama's stimulus package probably won't work, who knows? Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but at least it will be a temporary reprieve for a couple of million workers who otherwise would be on welfare. With public works projects at least we're getting something for the money we're borrowing.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

Twisting the meaning of what I said? We need to return to the no spin zone, Bob. I strictly meant that in economic turns - and its fairly obvious. Government spending in Iraq and Afghanistan (military industrial complex) has not worked, so why should we expect it to work with a works program, i.e. more government spending?

You don’t have to remind me that Saudi Arabia is a walking human rights violation, and the largest contributor to the spread of fundamentalist Islam in the world. I agree with you on that one, but when I say "moderate" (notice that I put quotations around it in my previous post), I mean regarding Israel. Their peace offer to Israel is radical by ME standards. In addition, Jordan and Egypt signed peace agreements with Israel, so “moderate” is the right word if peace is the goal.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

Good article. Saudi leadership has to protect themselves politically so this is not a big surprise. Consider that Ahmadinejad posted a letter on his website addressed to the Saudi King accusing “some” Arab states of “complicity” in the “genocide” of the Palestinians - an obvious reference to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Apparently, the pressure from Iran built a fire under the King (From the Financial Times, “Saudi Patience is Running Out“, Turki al-Faisal, 1-22-2009):

“…The incoming US administration will be inheriting a “basket full of snakes” in the region, but there are things that can be done to help calm them down. First, President Barack Obama must address the disaster in Gaza and its causes. Inevitably, he will condemn Hamas’s firing of rockets at Israel.
When he does that, he should also condemn Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinians and support a UN resolution to that effect; forcefully condemn the Israeli actions that led to this conflict, from settlement building in the West Bank to the blockade of Gaza and the targeted killings and arbitrary arrests of Palestinians; declare America’s intention to work for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, with a security umbrella for countries that sign up and sanctions for those that do not; call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Shab’ah Farms in Lebanon; encourage Israeli-Syrian negotiations for peace; and support a UN resolution guaranteeing Iraq’s territorial integrity…”

Many of Turki’s demands are unrealistic, obviously, but he is right about the Arab League offer to Israel - it’s a good opportunity for Israel. If the proposal is interpreted by the Arabs to include the right of return for the Palestinian refugees, then Israel will not consider the offer, but if the “mutually agreed just solution to the refugee problem according to the General Assembly resolution 194“ is negotiable, then how can Israel turn away from the complete diplomatic recognition they have sought since 1948?

And Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah? Once again, they will not recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state - ever. So whenever the time is right, they have it at their disposal to fire rockets into Israel to provoke a response assuring that “real peace” never will be in the cards. Palestinian children will continue to learn to hate Jews in schools and in Mosque just like today (the “brothers of apes and pigs“) and assuring that real peace will be delayed until Israel becomes Palestine - once again.

Iran (and their cute little proxies) is a master at working the western media and the populous in the Middle East (as well as the Europeans). Start a war? The world (for the most part) condemns Israel for defending their population despite the fact that any country would respond the same way except with much less attention paid to civilian casualties. See, for example, Russia’s response to Chechen rebels or the Serb massacre of Bosnians.

Jerry_Fresno Author Profile Page :

Inaction

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

Hopefully, some day you'll come to the conclusion the neocon/Bush dogma didn't work. I know Bush strayed from the main stream neocon line in many ways, but in too many ways he was middle the road neocon. Even I, a devote Bush Basher, don't think his policies were implemented with bad personal intentions. I really believe he did what he thought was right. Where this breaks down is thinking you are right and being right don't always mesh. In the case of Bush we have the poster child this is exactly what we have.

No matter which way you slice and dice the past 8 years Bush et al took what was supposed to be a permanent majority and turned it into a struggling minority party. Bush/Cheney, based on their policies and actions, were so unpopular towards the end of his presidency both the republican party and John McCain wanted nothing to do with him. I stated in this forum a year ago it didn't matter to me which Democrat won its' parties nomination they would beat whoever the republicans ran. My only basis for this claim was there was just too much dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration. The reason for this dissatifaction were the policies and agenda he championed.

While you and I might be at the opposite end of the normal political spectrum in this country I actually respect the majority of your points. Normally, I don't agree with a lot of them, but there are very few points that cause the hair on my head (what there is left of it) to stand up. Your recent post to Salamon in which you said, "We already have a costly government works program (in progress) in Iraq and Afghanistan," was one such point. Now if that statement isn't a new an unimproved definition for war I've never heard one. We no longer have wars, we have public work projects? Well, if that's the case then under Obama's new economic stimulus plan we'll have to recall all of the troops from around the world to protect our public works projects at home. We won't have any left to spare. Anyway, if the new republican justification for war is public works I predict today in two years the republican party will lose more seats.

You were only partially right when you talked about my neutral position in the ME. While I have maintained I don't care who wins I have also maintained based on sheer numbers I assume the Muslims will utlimately prevail. Israel is aware it has a population problem. Israel has known the territory it held can only sustain a relatively small population. In order to increase it's population it needs more land. It needs to establish additional settlements to have any realistic chance of survival in the long term. Since I don't believe they will be able to acquire enough land to build a large enough population base I think the US's military and economic support of Israel only prolongs the inevitable outcome.

You stated the recent conflict in Gaza was a "window" into Iran's new influence in the region and we should be very afraid. Tom, have you missed the last 61 years of conflict? A state of war has now existed for 61 years and now all of a sudden it's Iran's fault? I have no doubt the forces who want Israel gone will take aid and support from whoever and where ever they can find it.

Saudi Arabia is moderate? Maybe compared to Iran or Nazi Germany, but moderate it is not. The last I knew the majority of 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. OBL is Saudi. Saudi money has been and will continue to flow into groups that oppose Israel. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy. As a monarchy it's the antithesis of democracy which we claim to prize so dearly in our rhetoric in Iraq. The Saudi's also have a system of justice that stones people to death, subjagates women and cuts of peoples hands. This is a country you want to call moderate? A guess that's like redefining war as a public works project.

There are two words that never should be used in the same sentence over at least the next hundred years. Those words are peace and the ME. Today, taling about peace in the ME is a joke. Even if the Muslims rid the ME of Israel peace will not break out. They will continue to war among themselves.

I'll end this with oil. First, shame on us. We have known for 40 years at the minimum the region was uncontrollable. So what do we do? We increase our independence on this oil? Shame on us. That is nothing more then government not protecting our interests and since we elected the bufoons we are guilty of not protecting our own interests. We, as a nation, were willing to put ourselves in this position because it was cheaper to do. That was a result of greed and I have no sympathy over this argument. However, that being said the ME countries love the money they get selling their oil. Without it they might as well break out their tents and start herding goats again. (An exaggeration, but not far from the truth). They will continue to produce and to sell on the world market because they want the money. Since the US buys about 25% of all oil it is almost impossible to stop this supply at this point. Also, what do you think our reaction would be if all the ME countries shut down production of oil? If we were willing to go blow up Iraq because we didn't like Saddam just imagine for one second what we would do if they closed down their oil fields. We would go to war. Hence, while OPEC can play with numbers they have in fact already made a deal with the devil who will not let them out of it. I am a firm believer in developing alternative energy and weaning ourselves off ME oil. The quicker the better, but until then we will be able to buy oil from them or we will go take it.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

Hopefully, some day you'll come to the conclusion the neocon/Bush dogma didn't work. I know Bush strayed from the main stream neocon line in many ways, but in too many ways he was middle the road neocon. Even I, a devote Bush Basher, don't think his policies were implemented with bad personal intentions. I really believe he did what he thought was right. Where this breaks down is thinking you are right and being right don't always mesh. In the case of Bush we have the poster child this is exactly what we have.

No matter which way you slice and dice the past 8 years Bush et al took what was supposed to be a permanent majority and turned it into a struggling minority party. Bush/Cheney, based on their policies and actions, were so unpopular towards the end of his presidency both the republican party and John McCain wanted nothing to do with him. I stated in this forum a year ago it didn't matter to me which Democrat won its' parties nomination they would beat whoever the republicans ran. My only basis for this claim was there was just too much dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration. The reason for this dissatifaction were the policies and agenda he championed.

While you and I might be at the opposite end of the normal political spectrum in this country I actually respect the majority of your points. Normally, I don't agree with a lot of them, but there are very few points that cause the hair on my head (what there is left of it) to stand up. Your recent post to Salamon in which you said, "We already have a costly government works program (in progress) in Iraq and Afghanistan," was one such point. Now if that statement isn't a new an unimproved definition for war I've never heard one. We no longer have wars, we have public work projects? Well, if that's the case then under Obama's new economic stimulus plan we'll have to recall all of the troops from around the world to protect our public works projects at home. We won't have any left to spare. Anyway, if the new republican justification for war is public works I predict today in two years the republican party will lose more seats.

You were only partially right when you talked about my neutral position in the ME. While I have maintained I don't care who wins I have also maintained based on sheer numbers I assume the Muslims will utlimately prevail. Israel is aware it has a population problem. Israel has known the territory it held can only sustain a relatively small population. In order to increase it's population it needs more land. It needs to establish additional settlements to have any realistic chance of survival in the long term. Since I don't believe they will be able to acquire enough land to build a large enough population base I think the US's military and economic support of Israel only prolongs the inevitable outcome.

You stated the recent conflict in Gaza was a "window" into Iran's new influence in the region and we should be very afraid. Tom, have you missed the last 61 years of conflict? A state of war has now existed for 61 years and now all of a sudden it's Iran's fault? I have no doubt the forces who want Israel gone will take aid and support from whoever and where ever they can find it.

Saudi Arabia is moderate? Maybe compared to Iran or Nazi Germany, but moderate it is not. The last I knew the majority of 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. OBL is Saudi. Saudi money has been and will continue to flow into groups that oppose Israel. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy. As a monarchy it's the antithesis of democracy which we claim to prize so dearly in our rhetoric in Iraq. The Saudi's also have a system of justice that stones people to death, subjagates women and cuts of peoples hands. This is a country you want to call moderate? A guess that's like redefining war as a public works project.

There are two words that never should be used in the same sentence over at least the next hundred years. Those words are peace and the ME. Today, taling about peace in the ME is a joke. Even if the Muslims rid the ME of Israel peace will not break out. They will continue to war among themselves.

I'll end this with oil. First, shame on us. We have known for 40 years at the minimum the region was uncontrollable. So what do we do? We increase our independence on this oil? Shame on us. That is nothing more then government not protecting our interests and since we elected the bufoons we are guilty of not protecting our own interests. We, as a nation, were willing to put ourselves in this position because it was cheaper to do. That was a result of greed and I have no sympathy over this argument. However, that being said the ME countries love the money they get selling their oil. Without it they might as well break out their tents and start herding goats again. (An exaggeration, but not far from the truth). They will continue to produce and to sell on the world market because they want the money. Since the US buys about 25% of all oil it is almost impossible to stop this supply at this point. Also, what do you think our reaction would be if all the ME countries shut down production of oil? If we were willing to go blow up Iraq because we didn't like Saddam just imagine for one second what we would do if they closed down their oil fields. We would go to war. Hence, while OPEC can play with numbers they have in fact already made a deal with the devil who will not let them out of it.

bryan_leach Author Profile Page :


Ok here is a good one!!

Why did the press and congress haul our biggest car manufactures in front of the "World" and embarress them about flying corporate jets?

What about Nancy Pelousy??? She dole's around in a 737. I should add its not as green or good on gas as a little corporate jet. Obama should set the tone with that rock head.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

"Unfortunately for political reasons Mr. Obama has no choice in the short term, but to increase troops [silly idea, I agree] - else the neo-con cabal with help from Idiotic Republicans and AIPAC will crucify him."

Unwittingly, I suppose, you probably gave us a snapshot of the 2112 elections. Blame everything on Bush or the neoconservatives. Remember, it was Bush that “bullied” the Congressional Democrats into authorizing the war in Iraq.

Civil war in Iraq? Bush’s illegal and immoral war.
.
Afghanistan falling apart? Mismanaged by Bush.

Economy collapses? Inherited from Bush.

Russians crush Ukraine? Bush antagonized Russia through NATO.

Now, the media isn’t driven to protect Obama because of the historical election of an African American President - at least not as a first priority. No, the media will protect the liberal policies of the Obama administration.

Maybe you can give me some insight into why AIPAC is determining our policy in Afghanistan?

JerryOlek Author Profile Page :

Biggest mistake would be to deploy more forces to Afghanistan and to continue trying to win that war militarily. Forces need to be frozen, while conducting a crisis summit with leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nato allies involved in fighting. Ask Pakistan and Afghanistan to tell us how they want us to support them, then if it makes sense do it....To continue the Bush/military approach is a non starter in my view....Also he needs to be careful about advice he gets from military who probably still loyal to Bush strategy.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:
When Prince Turki al-Faisal, braother to the King, past ambassadeor to UK and USA almost publishes an ULTIMATUM TO UNCLE SAM in the Financial Times [London, UK]:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/65b122b6-e8c0-11dd-a4d0-0000779fd2ac.html

Then it is time for Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton to analyse logically the problen and possible solutions. The World's leading oil producer has a little more political weight than any by AIPAC>

Good luck

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

in 8 yeaqrs your glorified neo-cons managed to wrecjk the USA economy with 2 wars and miscelleneous covert/overt actions in Somalia, West Africa, Ethiopia, Etria, IRan, etc -- WAR DOES NOT PAY.

Your government has borrowed over 5 trillion dollars, your citizens borrowed more trillions - to create a sham of growth ... Now paying the price. your Fed Reserve bank spent guranteed 8.4 Trillion your country will be in dodo land for years ^- I am very sorry for the poor peole who will borne the price.

You are right, the stimulous program will not work - you can not solve overindebtedness with going deeper in debt.

The Usaès main problem with 2 trillion dollar+ deficit coming up is the source of funds:
you print -- hyperinflation
no country or combinations of countries have enough to provide the funds.
So medicine: will have to cut DoD, etc - which does not bode well for Israel

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

President Obama wants to spend about one trillion dollars on a government works program and a stimulus package (tax rebates, or redistribution for those who pay no federal income taxes). We already have a costly government works program (in progress) in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The tax stimulus by Bush seems to have done nothing to help the economy, so why another? We entered a recessionary period despite the wars in the greater Middle East (for those who believe that wars help pull an economy out of recession, or depression), so how are additional government works programs going to stimulate the economy and pull us out of this recession? Sure, the idea is to employ people and get them spending, none the less, the long term outlook for the Obama stimulus package (and works program) just doesn’t add up in my opinion (except for doubling or tripling of our national debt) . In the long term, we’ll recover, but will that be because of the Obama government stimulus or despite it?

A collapse of the US economy would be devastating to the world economy since the US accounts for about 25% of the world’s GDP. This recession and financial crisis has caused tremendous problems in China alone

Our financial support for Israel is nothing more than a blip in our economy which I believe should be increased, anyway, to expand their nuclear weapons program and missile defense systems and counter the Iranian nuclear program. The funding of Iraq is clearly being shifted to Afghanistan (which for some reason you left out), and we will begin to cut back spending in Iraq as we pull out.

Whereas 911 amounted to a calling of the neoconservative philosophy of George Bush (which he abandoned) and his war time measures, for a community organizer like Obama, an economic/financial crisis becomes the vehicle to enable more government controls, more “compassionate” social programs, a government works program and redistribution of money from the greedy rich to the poor - surely his call to greatness in much the same respect as former President Bush. It amounts to the Europeanization of America.

blund Author Profile Page :

Daniel,

We did come out of WWII in an unnatural world position. Remember, England, France, parts of Spain and Italy all sustained heavy damages. Eastern Europe and Russia were devastated. Russia lost almost half of the lives lost in WWII. In Asia Japan had ravaged China and the US did major damage to Japan. The point is all of these economies were teetering on ruin at the end of the war. The US by comparison had no battles, either land or air, on our soil. Also, our entire losses were around 250,000. Russia lost around 25,000,000. What resulted was the US was the only place on the planet that had intact manufacturing facilities. We used these facilities well after the war and had a huge balance of trade diference in our favor. (Now there's a novel idea). We prospered for about 20 years after WWII becuase we were the only game on the planet. The majority of the rest of the industrialized world was rebuilding. I have very vivid memories of seeing the first Datsuns (Nissan today) and Toyotas in the mid 60's. Henry Kissinger's whole concept of Detente was based on this premise. He also assumed the world would catch up with us over a period of time. Hence, get used to Fareed''s concept because it is reality that can be backed up with one statistic after another.

Let's move to the coveted IQ argument. IQ's have absolutely nothing to do with drive or work ethics. Both of these traits have more to do with success then IQ. There are very few jobs or fields of endeavors on this planet that require very high IQ's. You don't have to a MENSA candidate to become a Doctor, Lawyer, CPA, Architect, Engineer, a Four Star General, etc., etc.. Higher IQ's may make it easier to become one, but they all still require drive and good work habits. I think you are confusing the two issues. Asian Americans have a higher percentage of college grads based more on cultural mores they have then their IQ. The same thing that could be said about Jews, but you have to be very careful hear. Judism is a religion and cultural base more then it is an ethnic base. In fact they probably are a very group to use in this discussion. Jews are mutts. (I don't mean this in a negative way). What I'm driving at is the centuries and centuries of marriages to different ethnic groups around the world. Since they have no common ethniticity any gains in business/science/government along with IQ has to be culturally driven.

There are many theories as to why the American Indians North, Central and South), most of the tribes in Africa, the cultures of India, SE Asia didn't progress at the same rate Europeans did. Most of these theories have to with things like climate, population, food supplies and greed. There was a professor named Jensen (or Jansen) who I believe was from Philiadelphia who was a Sociologist. He postulated in the 50's blacks were intellectually inferior to whites and that was why they didn't progress as quickly as the Europeans. His work has been widely discredited and now he has been regulated to being a footnote in history.

The bottom line is you might want to rethink this concept.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

No question, the Middle East is a complicated part of the world. World interest in the region is driven, obviously, by oil, and the world’s economic engine depends on oil production from the Middle East. The recent rise in oil prices really reeked havoc with our economy - as you know - and that‘s just the tip of the energy iceberg for the future. The World’s powers (everyone really) have a stake in a stable, peaceful Middle East. The failure of the EU negotiations with Iran to halt their nuclear program is at least, in part, due to Europe’s need for Iran’s energy resources. How would you like to depend on Iran and Russia to fill your energy needs?

Lets forget why we invaded (right or wrong) because our presence, and long term outlook for Iraq is all that really matters now. An early US withdrawal could lead to a second civil war in Iraq and the collapse of the government. The resulting void in power could be filled by Iranian supported Shiites. In terms of peace, nothing positive can come from this possibility.

1. The Middle East would become more unstable, and Iran would become more powerful - especially with nuclear weapons. As a result, this clearly would decrease the opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The more radical Iranian Islamic government is competing with the Saudis for the “hearts and minds” of the Arabs (challenging Saudi leadership). A successful Iran will diminish the moderate Arab voice, and the ME, in general, will become more radicalized. Their client terrorist organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah, would continue to gain strength through their largest financier and supporter.

2. Another Iranian client state would give Iran the opportunity to control 20% of the world oil reserves (+/-), and a much greater potential to use oil as a weapon in future conflicts.

3. A withdrawal by the US would be seen as a victory for Iran, and weaken US credibility (much the same as Viet Nam, Somalia, Lebanon) - already at a low point in the ME, none the less, the US stands to gain by sticking by Iraq and nurturing a peaceful and democratic(?) country in the ME. Certainly, the moderate Arab states support a continued presence of US forces in Iraq.

4. Iranian influence could produce a terrorist state, a Hezbollah-style client terrorist organization within Iraq, or help Iraq build nuclear weapons. A peaceful Iraq is critical to the ME.

5. The US is responsible for the destruction in Iraq, and we hold responsibility to rebuild Iraq. To leave would make us responsible for possibly hundreds of thousands or millions of additional deaths and refugees. I don’t believe that Obama will allow this possibility, and on that point we disagree.

As I mentioned in my first post, our presence prevents Iranian hegemony. Iran is challenging (successfully, in my opinion) Saudi leadership in the Middle East. The pro US Saudis represent the moderate Arab countries in the Middle East - those willing to accept full diplomatic relations with Israel under certain conditions. That’s an incredibly radical proposal in the ME. In my opinion, the 2002 Arab League Peace offer to Israel is fair, and the only way to peace and the acceptance of Israel in the Middle East. Of course, Israel has stubbornly - and rightly - demanded security, but wrongly - and stubbornly - advanced their settlements.

The war in Gaza provided a window into the greater ME struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran exploited Arab and Persian anger to promote Iran’s standing and diminish Saudi Arabia’s leadership role in the Middle East. In a recent posting on his website, Ahmadinejad, a hero to many Arabs, criticized Saudi Arabia. He specifically accused the King and other Arab leaders of “complicity“ in the “genocide“ of the Palestinians. In addition, Ahmadinejad called for an oil embargo against the countries that support Israel, i.e. the US. While the call was ignored by Arab leaders (this time), the directive was meant to apply pressure on Saudi Arabia - the largest supplier of oil to the US (in the Middle East). It was also less than a veiled threat against the West.

An Arab summit held at the Qatari capital at the height of the Gaza conflict underscored the split in the Middle East between US-backed “moderate” Arab countries and the Iranian-Syrian axis. Egypt and Saudi Arabia - along with ten members of the Arab League - boycotted the summit. Ahmadinejad and Hamas, along with twelve members of the Arab League, used the summit to boost support for Hamas and urge Arabs to “cut ties with Israel”. Qatar and Mauritania complied and cut economic and political ties with Israel. The rise of Iran has clearly undercut Saudi and Egyptian leadership in the Middle East and diminished the “moderate” Arab voice.

In addition, Hezbollah openly criticized Egypt for not doing more to help the Palestinians in Gaza. Without a doubt, the Iranian leaders would love to see the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist Islamic political party, take power in Egypt and surround Israel with hostile governments.

Even the US - Israel’s closest ally - abstained on a UN vote that called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. According to Olmert, the vote did not address Israeli security concerns, yet the US didn’t side with Israel. Basically, Bush abandoned Israel. Turkey - also an ally of Israel - suggested Israel should be “barred” from of the UN - showing exactly where the Turkish Islamists Party (AKP) is heading.

Iraq was a flash point for Sunni and Shia violence as well as a killing field for Saudi and Iranian regional interest. The Saudis opposed the US invasion because it gave Iran an opportunity to enlist another state and boost their regional power. Iran’s call for an oil boycott during the Gaza operation suggest that Iran could gain enormous power with Iraq as a client state (al-Qaeda also saw the invasion of Iraq as an opportunity).

There can be no doubt that Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran have undermined any possibility of peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and in my opinion, oppose any peace agreements with Israel. Obviously they oppose the Saudi initiative. Iran has slowly chipped away at the idea that Israel cannot be defeated - that Israel is invincible - and they have offered an alternative to the Saudi peace plan - the destruction of Israel. That’s why many Arabs view Ahmadinejad as a hero (Nasrallah as well).

Everything that Iran is trying to accomplish is making the Middle East more radical, more fundamentalist and less peaceful. I read an interesting article the other day (and like you I can’t find it) which basically states that Islam realizes they cannot conquer the west , but strategically is bargaining to end Western support for Israel - which is what Salamon is saying (and hoping). In the interest of peace, will the West throw Israel under the bus? The "peace at all costs" philosophy of liberals makes that a very real possibility to me (reconciliation liberalism).

By taking a “neutral” position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Bob, you are supporting any outcome. That’s an ominous sign for any legitimate small country (and I realize that Israel is more powerful than anyone else in the ME at this stage) around the world bullied by a much larger and more powerful state, and a good sign for the spread of a totalitarian philosophy like radical Islam.

I completely oppose the Libertarian idea that we should just pull up stakes everywhere and come home.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

I think the biggest mistake Obama could make is believe the typical liberal worldview and which can perhaps be characterized by Fareed Zakaria who says the trend these days is that the rest of the world is catching up to the greater powers and we will all achieve parity and go down through history arm in arm with relatively few problems. Sorry Mr. Zakaria if I misconstrued you...But it is true this view is what I want to address.

I believe something of the opposite. I go by I.Q. tests and great skepticism of the concept known as education. I believe (to give the overview) that as the rest of the world catches up to the greater powers that they will mix with the greater powers and the greater powers will stoop and the lesser powers will rise and we will have not an elevation over all but rather a dumbing down of world civilization in general right as technology is racing ahead and becoming more and more capable of realizing the extremes of good and evil.

To become particular, I really do not believe in education. I believe in genetics. I say education is largely an illusion. I believe that standards are set somewhere in the middle and this disguises the fact that the gifted largely educate themselves and that the bottom of the heap really cannot learn much at all. I think I.Q. tests reveal quite a bit. And I do believe that Jews and Asians are probably the most intelligent people and then white people come next. It is relevant that what we call education did not come out of thin air but was invented and achieved great sophistication largely in the West and Asia. This will sound startling, but I do not believe it was meant to bridge differences between races--unless the races are similar genetically as to intelligence.

To make a long story short, the biggest error is to think that by education we can bring the lesser powers to parity with the great and that we will all go down in history arm in arm. I think we will continue to be deluded as to the efficacy of education until things get really bad in the world (global warming, pollution, WMD, etc.) and the human race will pass through a dark tunnel over the next couple hundred years and we can only hope that the humanity which emerges at the other end will be wiser...

I think things will get bad because the more intelligent peoples cannot just kill the less intelligent (No! Even if there is no God I believe he will appear and damn us to hell for such!) but neither will the less intelligent really achieve parity with the more intelligent. We will have chaos, confusion, much guilt over what is becoming evident, and probably the worst of technology will become more and more appealing to an increasingly mad and desperate and confused human race.

If someone can think of a way out,--if such as I have said is true--it had better be made pretty evident starting now, and Obama would be a pretty good place to start....

yeolds Author Profile Page :

Shiveh:

Your analysis on the Afganistan issue is correct. Unfortunately for political reasons Mr. Obama has no choice in the short term, but to increase troops [silly idea, I agree] - else the neo-con cabal with help from Idiotic Republicans and AIPAC will crucify him. Financial pressure on UK/EU/USa might lead to cooling off the war effort, for the stark choice will be your own citizens' welfare vs. endless war 5-10 000 miles away.


blund:

Correct analysis of the IRaq Issue.

The arc of instability often shows up at Information clearinghouse essays. The Arc was created by the "international Community" [A.k.a. US and western partners] partially started by the Palestinian situation, the negation of the democratic election in Algeria [we can not have Fundementailsts], partially by western demand to control oil/gas in North Africa. Somalia was a boilig point [too close to the Suez Canal Route], political support of "moderate Atrab leaders" [read puppets in Morocco, Nigeria, etc] ending with USA armaments being supplied left and right all over the place leading to more instability. Final issue is the AFRICAN COMMAND by the USA [noone seems to want them in their nations, they do not have African Headquarters as yet].

It is notable that most African oil producers excluding Egypt have yet to reach the plateau of their production, Egypt is in decline.

TOM:

Please explain to us how you going to pay for the endless occupation of Iraq, when the Budget deficit of USA for the last 3 months of 2008 was over 450 billion, the deficit for next year will be 1.2 trillion+ Mr. Obaama's spending spree, plus any amount of the TARP, Federal Reserve guarantees, which can explode into worthless junk adding to the deficit.

Are you proposing to sell IBM? Boeing? Google to China after expropriation? or are you telling the youth of USA that aside from having to support your spendtrift society, paying off their own debts, they WILL HAVE OF PAY FOR YOUR DESIRE OF OCCUPATION IN IRAQ, to the tune of 2-300 billion dollars a year [counting all costs present and hidden -e.g Dept of Vet Affairs, interst on funding etc?]

Accountability as per Mr. Obama, demand that you show how you pay for your favorite program [Iraq war, Israel's support, etc] without wrecking the USA budget.

Am waiting anxciously for the fiancial analysis from you.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

The conflict in Afghanistan can easily become president Obama’s foreign policy curse the same way that Iraq was Bush’s. Obama would be wise not to try to own Afghanistan.

A little history to support this point; two different people live in Afghanistan. Pashtuns (Pashto- 36%) in the south and Tajiks (34%) in the north. Pashtuns also live in northern Pakistan. In 19th century, the British wanting to cut Russia’s access to India, thought of building a buffer zone between India and Iran. Northern Afghanistan was part of Iran at the time. The British caused a revolt in Herat (Northern Afghanistan’s main city) and when the Iranian army surrounded the city, the British naval ships attacked the Persian Golf port cities and demanded Iran’s withdrawal from Herat. A British army tried to hold Afghanistan after Iranians left but was massacred by Afghans. They left only one medical doctor to tell the story!

Pakistan also became a sovereign country with British help. This time the “Mohajers” (Indian Moslems migrating to North-West of India) joined with local tribes (Pashtuns) to form a country. In Afghanistan, Pashtuns are mostly Pro Taliban, while Tajiks are fiercely anti-Taliban. In Pakistan, local tribes are pro Taliban and live in secluded areas while Mohajers run the country and have been using Taliban to influence and control Afghanistan. Both of these countries are artificially built by the British help and the glue is coming apart. In Afghanistan, half of the people (Tajiks) speak Farsi (Urdu dialect) and culturally are closer to their neighbor to the west (Iran) while the other half (Pashtuns) speak the Pashtu language and are closer to the people that live in Northern Pakistan.

Although both Tajik and Pashtun tribes are of Iranian tribes, they do not have a lot in common. Since Russians left, these two groups have been fighting each other and also with whomever that has tried to control them. It will be a huge mistake to think that by adding a few thousand soldiers to the ones already in Afghanistan, we can calm the situation in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. More likely, Afghanistan will never be secure enough for the oil pipelines that US oil companies are interested in. Taliban’s influence can be best countered by using stark differences between Tajiks and Pashtuns in Afghanistan. Empowering Tajiks and improving living standards in Afghanistan through them can reduce the Taliban appeal. Iranian engineers building roads and schools have been more effective in Afghanistan than NATO forces bombing villages and too often the wedding parties. If Obama misses this point, he’ll make a lasting mistake that’ll hunt him through his presidency.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

Read your post and have a couple of questions. The first question would be was Iraq stable before we invaded? I can probably assume your answer to his question is no since we saw reason to invade and sold Saddam as the devil reincarnated. So this leads me to the second question. Was it not Bush who said we are not in the business of nation building? If I am correct about this statement why do you think we should stay and engage in nation building?

Here's the issue. I am not alone in believing we took a country that was fairly dysfunctional and turned into a completely dysfunctional country. The only possibility of stabilizing the country would require generations to accomplish if it was possible in the first place.

Basically, we are in a no win situation. If we stay until it is stablized our commitment has to be open ended and we don't have any clue whether or not the day will come when we can leave. Also, if we stay we just provide more ammunition for Muslims to hate us. The cost of this endeavor to the US in money and lives has already been staggering and if we stay it will just continue to go up. The 2 basic down sides in leaving Iraq are what happens in terms of civil war inside Iraq and what advantage does our leaving bring about for Iran. To the first point I would argue the moment we invaded Iraq we planted the seeds for a civil war. The majority had been oppressed too long by the minority using rather brutal techniques. I know the republicans are very fond to touting how well the surge has worked. I will agree it has diminished the violence, but I don't believe for a nano second it has done anything to stymie future violence once we pull out. Sad to say, but I believe this is just something we have to live with. As to the second point I'm still waiting to see any evidence our departure from Iraq makes Iran any stronger or weaker by itself. Does anybody really believe if we pull out in the next 16 months Iran is going to build a bomb any quicker? Does anybody really believe if we pull out in the next 16 months Iran is going to magically increase it's population, start a war it can't win with Israel or even invade other Arab States?

Somewhere I saw the other day a great description of the Middle East. The author used the term, "Arc of Violence." I'd love to give him/her credit, but I can't remember where I read it. I believe they nailed it on the head. The Mid East is nothing more then the Arc of Violence. We can, as the Bush Administration did, allow ourselves to be sucked into this riptide or we can chose not to be sucked in. That choice is ours to make and I have faith Obama will chose to leave Iraq as quickly as he can even knowing our departure stands a very good chance of resulting in a civil war.

There is going to be no quick fix for our economic troubles. We're looking at years down the road to hopefully just stabilize the mess we've collectively created. While it's true we can continue to support the effort in Iraq it comes at a much higher cost today then it did 2 or 3 years ago relatively speaking. We either need to do what Bush did, which was borrow the money and let our grandkids pay it back, or we need to increase revenues (taxes) in a slumping economy to pay for it. Neither of these options is acceptable without clear and convincing evidence our leaving Iraq in the short term would cause grave security problems for this country. I have yet to see anything that approaches clear and convincing evidence. All I have heard to date is "what if" scenarios that are about as likely as a 3 headed horse being born.

The biggest mistake Obama can make as president is not leaving Iraq and using many of those resources back here to focus on what a president's primary job really is: orchestrating peace and prosperity for the country.

JHG_sec405 Author Profile Page :

I'm sorry, but I do not care one iota right now what people in the middle east or Arab countries think President Obama should or shouldn't do. Their opinions shuold be directed to the Secretary of State, and should not be allowed to influence our policies disproportionate to the importance the American public places on other internal issues. Obama is our President first, second, and third. In other words, let's take care of the poor here first, create jobs for American citizens first, and protect our nation's security interests first. All else is 4th on the list, at best. For now, who cares what someone in Dubai thinks? Not me, and probably not most Americans. Those leeches will have their turn, but We the People need them to wait their turn.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

While the economy of the USA fist, the world's second [for the second has great influense on the first] is Mr. Obamama's gretest challenge, where possibly there will be misteps, the MAJOR errors will occur in the field of Foreign Affairs:

1.;, Preference to deal with self appointed PUPPETS [e.g Mr Abas of Fatah, whose term has expired, Mr Mubarak - a ruthless for life DICTATOR, etc] at the expense of AMERICAN IDEALS: Democraticly elected governments, behavoir in accordance to international law, etc

2., To please the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX OF THE USA, Mr. Obama will continue efforts on FORWARD BASES in MOST FOREIGN SOVEREIGN STATES, at the expense of the moneys needed in the USA for the well being of her citizens.

3., Continue with the idioic, self-destructive [for both parties, the USA and Israel] the one sided actions regarding the Palestinian Issue.

4., Further military materiel aid to Israel, with full knowledge that Israel will use the ammunition, planes etc for ATTACK contrary to the demands of USA ATATUTE LAW -to appease AIPAC and all those congress representatives, senatos who sold their soul to LIDUK.

I hope I am wrong, but not holding my breath.

Good Luck to USA - she desparatelyu needs it.

daniel12 Author Profile Page :

I think the biggest mistake would be to give in to the typical liberal worldview that things are not so bad, that all we have to do is talk to people, that people are everywhere the same and that it really makes no difference if vast numbers of hispanics come into the u.s. or if muslims increase drastically in europe etc. This is not to say I advocate throwing hispanics and muslims into furnaces or advocate america getting on a christian kick and striving to convert the world to democracy (and christianity?) by force...I would just say be careful. Be honest about things.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

PG

Strictly adhering to a sixteen month withdrawal from Iraq would potentially be a big mistake.

The US cannot leave without a stable Iraqi government - free of Iranian influence. Even for Iran to fuel a Hezbollah-type political-military (terrorist)-social organization within Iraq could seriously destabilize Iraq and produce a failed state. The biggest threat to regional stability and peace is Iran. Their nuclear weapons program threatens to start a regional arms race, and emboldens their client-terrorist organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah.

In addition, the Iraqi Sunnis must be included and satisfied by their standing within the Shiite-dominant Iraqi government.

A US “victory” includes building an Iraqi government that does not support terrorism, build nuclear weapons and limits Iranian influence. For Iraq to return to civil war conditions, or become a terrorist client state of Iran would be a dismal failure for the US. The main reason for the invasion of Iraq was to remove all possibility of Saddam acquiring nuclear weapons - which he clearly aspired to develop (regardless of the lack of evidence for developing WMD‘s at the time of the invasion). The Middle East is much better off without this threat. A peaceful Iraq is of paramount importance to the US as well as the Middle East.

Irresponsibly walking away from Iraq could put the entire region at greater risk. Hopefully, Obama and Biden understand this.

balasrini1242 Author Profile Page :

being a very analytical,deliberative thinking president after nearly a decade peoples faith and hope on him will endure and he will come out a winner.however it is also possible that he may bite into more than he can chew.only the time will tell.the silent danger lurking in the dark is CHINA.you never can guess or fathom or even predict what china is planning and why.so if i am the president i will keep a watchful eye on the middle kingdom.friendly relations with russia at this juncture will be mutually beneficial also.

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :

Appointing Geithner or any free trade Wall Street insider like him.

Not ending the H1-B visa immediately (Microsoft announced the layoff of 5,000 workers today, none of them H1-B guest workers. In fact, Microsoft is lobbying for an increase in the number of H1-B visas, all the while dumping their American workers. With something like 4 million unemployed U.S. tech workers, it's time to end that bit of insanity.)

Not dumping NAFTA and every other free trade agreement that costs American jobs.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page :

The biggest mistake Barack Obama could make in his first six months is do anything that could be interpreted as:

1. he does not respect his electoral promises as stated;

2. he will not respect his electoral promises as stated.

Not only would that be unacceptable and a cruel disappointment; it would represent an unsurmountable loss of basic credibility.

President Obama may simply not renege on his electoral promises as stated, whether it be on matters of foreign policy or on any other.

The initial message ought to be anything but: "More of the same!"

blund Author Profile Page :

Ideally, the job of any American President should be taking positions and instituting policies that result in peace and prosperity. (Bush missed the briefing on these ideas when he took office)

Fighting wars certainly doesn't equal peace and watching the economy being ground into the dirt doesn't promote prosperity. That is what Obama has inherited from the sorry excuse for a predecessor. What he has also inherited is a country that is extremely cynical about the political process. While Obamas election was a step in the right direction there is still a ton of work to be done in restoring confidence in government. In this area I think he is the right person for the job.

What Obama needs to do is make an honest attempt at turning the economy around and at the same time find the quickest way out of Iraq that is possible. He needs to do both of these monumental tasks in a transparent way. Any action he takes contrary to these goals will be a major mistake. Side issues left over from the Bush Administration must also be dealt with in a transparent way. These would include shutting down Gitmo and stopping torture. He's well on his way of making this happen as I write this. His instructions to his staff yesterday made me happy when I heard him tell them to err on the side of disclosure. Too long, under the guise of national security, has government withheld information we need in order to voice legitimate opinions on topics.

On a side note it was refreshing to attend the swearing in ceremnony (cold) and dance the night away at a ball in DC on the 20th. I know I was surrounded by democrats who were happy Barrack had won. I saw special sense of pride in the faces of the blacks who had come in from all over the country. I can only imagine how they must of felt. The rest of the democrats I encountered were much like myself. We were happy to have Barrack and believe he'll be an outstanding president. However, as happy as we were for Barrack we were happier that Bush was finally out of office.

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.